Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. and El Centro, Calif. Top Growth List; New Orleans-Metairie, La. and Santa Fe, N.M. Experience the Largest Numerical and Percentage Declines for the Year
Construction employment declined in 127 metro areas, was stagnant in 51 and increased in 180 between June 2014 and June 2015, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that the declines come as the House and Senate struggle to enact legislation to extend federal transportation investments beyond the July 31st expiration of the current program.
“It is hard for construction firms to invest in new employees if they don't know what business conditions will be like for the rest of the year,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. "Many transportation construction firms will be reluctant to expand their headcount until Washington puts in places a long-term highway and transit funding measure.”
The largest job losses from June 2014 to June 2015 were in New Orleans-Metairie, La. (-2,700 jobs, -9 percent), followed by Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Miss. (-2,100 jobs, -21 percent), Akron, Ohio (-1,700, -12 percent), Bakersfield, Calif. (-1,500 jobs, -8 percent) and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, N.J. (-1,200 jobs, -4 percent). The largest percentage decline for the past year was in Santa Fe, N.M. (-22 percent, -600 jobs), followed by Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula and Las Cruces, N.M. (-14 percent, -500 jobs).
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. added the largest number of construction jobs in the past year (11,300 jobs, 15 percent), followed by Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. (10,200 jobs, 11 percent), Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich. (8,100 jobs, 18 percent) and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (8,000 jobs, 7 percent). The largest percentage gains occurred in El Centro, Calif. (21 percent, 400 jobs), Visalia-Porterville, Calif. (20 percent, 900 jobs), Camden, N.J. (19 percent, 4,000 jobs) and Tacoma-Lakewood, Wash. (19 percent, 3,600 jobs).
Association officials are urging motorists to pressure federal officials to pass a long-term, fully-funded highway and transit bill. They are asking motorists to share pictures of bad roads and gridlocked traffic via social media with the hashtag #DriveBetterRoads. And they are asking motorists to visit http://www.DriveBetterRoads.org to send messages directly to their Congressional delegation asking them to support such a transportation measure.
“Aging roads, unsafe bridges and bad traffic is a national challenge that could easily be fixed,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Passing a long-term bill will get our roads and bridges back into shape and save motorists from the cost of bad traffic and bad roads."