Construction Employment Drops in 236 Metro Areas Between February 2020 and February 2021

Construction employment decreased from February 2020 to February 2021 in 236 of the nation’s metro areas, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government employment data released April 7.

“Relatively few places have recovered from the pandemic-induced impacts on the construction industry,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Project cancellations, spiking materials prices and significant supply chain challenges are making it hard for most firms to add new construction jobs compared to a year ago.”

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas lost the largest number of construction jobs over the 12-month period (-37,600 jobs, -16 percent), followed by New York City (-26,700 jobs, -17 percent); Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, Illinois (-12,900 jobs, -11 percent) and Midland, Texas (-11,600 jobs, -31 percent). Odessa, Texas had the largest percentage decline (-40 percent, -8,200 jobs), followed by Lake Charles, Louisiana (-39 percent, -7,700 jobs); Midland; Longview, Texas (-23 percent, -3,400 jobs) and Laredo, Texas (-23 percent, -900 jobs).

Only 83 metro areas added construction jobs during the past 12 months, while construction employment was stagnant in 39 metro areas. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, California added the most construction jobs over 12 months (3,100 jobs, 4 percent), followed by Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Washington (2,800 jobs, 3 percent); Ogden-Clearfield, Utah (2,800 jobs, 14 percent) and Boise, Idaho (2,700 jobs, 10 percent). Sierra Vista-Douglas, Arizona had the highest percentage increase (40 percent, 1,000 jobs), followed by Cleveland, Tennessee (16 percent, 300 jobs); Lawrence-Methuen Town-Salem, Massachusetts-New Hampshire (15 percent, 500 jobs) and St. George, Utah (15 percent, 1,300 jobs).

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