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U.S. construction jobs down sharply year over year in August

DCN-JOC News Services
U.S. construction jobs down sharply year over year in August

ARLINGTON, VA.—Construction employment decreased in 67 per cent of 358 U.S. metro areas between August 2019 and last month, according to an analysis of new government data that the Associated General Contractors of America released Sept 30.

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas lost the most construction jobs over 12 months (minus 22,800 jobs, down 10 per cent), followed by New York City (minus 21,700 jobs, down 13 per cent). Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, Mass. had the largest percentage decline (minus 38 per cent, down 2,200 jobs), followed by Johnstown, Pa. (down 34 per cent, minus 1,000 jobs).

Employment was stagnant in 29 metro areas and increased in only 88 areas (25 per cent) over the past 12 months. Nineteen metros had all-time lows for August construction employment, while 33 areas had record highs for August, in data going back to 1990 for most areas.

“Although residential construction is picking up in many areas, public and nonresidential construction are shrinking,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, in a release. “Project cancellations are spreading, and fewer new projects are starting up. That combination makes further employment declines inevitable unless the federal government steps up support for infrastructure.”

Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind. added the most construction jobs from August 2019 to August 2020 (4,800 jobs, nine per cent), followed by Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md. (4,300 jobs, five per cent). Niles-Benton Harbor, Mich. had the highest percentage increase (16 per cent, 400 jobs), followed by Fond du Lac, Wisc. (15 per cent, 500 jobs) and Walla Walla, Wash. (15 per cent, 100 jobs).

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