Construction Employment Slips in 225 Metro Areas from January 2020 to January 2021

Construction employment decreased from January 2020 to January 2021 in nearly two-thirds of the nation’s metro areas, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government employment data.

“More contractors are telling us they are cutting headcount than adding workers, which is consistent with the new data showing the industry is shrinking in many parts of the country,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “More than three-fourth of the firms said projects had been postponed or canceled, while only one out of five reported winning new work or an add-on to an existing project in the previous two months as a result of the pandemic. That imbalance makes further job losses likely in many metros.”

Construction employment fell in 225, or 63 percent, of 358 metro areas between January 2020 and January 2021. Industry employment was stagnant in 41 additional metro areas, while only 92 metro areas—26 percent—added construction jobs.

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas lost the largest number of construction jobs over the 12-month period (-32,900 jobs, -14 percent), followed by New York City (-23,000 jobs, -15 percent); Midland, Texas (-11,100 jobs, -29 percent); and Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, Illinois (-10,400 jobs, -9 percent). Lake Charles, Louisiana had the largest percentage decline (-40 percent, -8,100 jobs), followed by Odessa, Texas (-37 percent, -7,600 jobs); Midland; and Laredo, Texas (-27 percent, -1,100 jobs).

Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, California added the most construction jobs over 12 months (3,500 jobs, 5 percent), followed by Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Indiana (3,100 jobs, 6 percent); Boise, Idaho (2,500 jobs, 9 percent); and Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Washington (2,100 jobs, 2 percent). Sierra Vista-Douglas, Arizona had the highest percentage increase (42 percent, 1,000 jobs), followed by Bay City, Michigan (18 percent, 200 jobs); and Auburn-Opelika, Alabama (15 percent, 400 jobs).

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