DCN ARCHIVES

February 3, 2011

U.S. construction job losses continue

WASHINGTON

Thirty-six states lost construction jobs in 2010 as the industry shrank by 93,000 employees nationally, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) reports in an analysis of state employment data released by the federal Labor Department.

The figures underscore the challenges facing the construction industry and echo the results of the association’s recent industry outlook.

“While it is nice to see the industry adding jobs in the most states since February 2008, the challenges facing this industry are still very severe,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist.

“Despite slight improvements in the construction employment picture, the industry is coping with weak demand, declining stimulus activity and a growing political aversion to investing in aging infrastructure.”

Simonson noted that from November 2010 to December 2010, seasonally adjusted employment rose in just 13 states and held steady in Connecticut, even while construction employment across the U.S. shrunk by 16,000 nationally.

Delaware had the largest one-month percentage increase in employment (1.6 percent, 300 jobs), closely followed by Texas, which led in the number of jobs added (1.5 per cent, 8,700 jobs). Virginia was next, adding 1,300 employees (0.7 per cent).

The largest percentage losses between November and December occurred in West Virginia ( minus 8.4 per cent, 2,800 jobs), followed by North Dakota (-7.1 per cent, 1,500 jobs) and Kentucky (minus 5.7 per cent, 3,800 jobs). New York had the largest number of monthly job losses (8,900 jobs, minus 2.8 per cent), followed by Florida (8,500 jobs, minus 2.5 per cent) and Indiana (6,200 jobs, minus 5.4 per cent). Simonson cautioned that the December monthly figures for many states may have been affected by exceptionally bad weather.

Association officials noted that, according to its outlook, more contractors expect demand to shrink than grow in every key market segments. And while slightly more firms expect to hire than lay off employees in 2011, most contractors do not expect the industry to recover until at least next year.

DCN News Services

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