Phoenix posts biggest job losses since start of construction downturn

AGC of America
March 15, 2011
COMMERCIAL, RETAIL, FABRICATION

Out of 337 metro areas, 317 have seen a decline in construction employment since January 2007, according to the AGC of America, Arlington, Va. The downturn has left more than 2.2 million construction workers unemployed and the industry’s unemployment rate at 21.8 percent, more than twice the national average.

Phoenix lost more construction jobs – 91,400 – than any other metro area since the start of the construction downturn in January 2007, a 54 percent decline. Nationwide, 28 cities lost 50 percent or more of their construction jobs, including Boise, Idaho; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Medford, Ore.; and Merced, Calif.

The metro areas that lost the most construction jobs during the past four years, besides Phoenix, included Las Vegas (-61,900 jobs, -61 percent); Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (-57,700 jobs, - 51 percent); the Atlanta area (-57,700 jobs, -42 percent); and the Los Angeles area (-56,200 jobs, -37 percent).

Lake Havasu City-Kingman, Ariz. (-65 percent, -4,200 jobs) and Bend, Ore. (-65 percent, -5,200 jobs) lost the highest percentage of construction jobs of any metro area. They were followed by St. George, Utah (-62 percent, -5,200 jobs); Las Vegas; and Naples, Fla. (-61 percent, -13,700 jobs).

Only 14 metro areas added construction jobs during the past four years, while employment levels were unchanged in another six. The five metro areas with the largest construction employment gains were all in Texas: Beaumont-Port Arthur (3,400 jobs, 21 percent); Longview (3,100 jobs, 26 percent); Midland (2,100 jobs, 15 percent); El Paso (1,900 jobs, 14 percent); and Odessa (1,800 jobs, 17 percent).

Pascagoula, Miss., experienced the highest percentage increase in construction employment (47 percent, 1,600 jobs) during the past four years. Other metro areas adding a high percentage of construction jobs included Longview; Beaumont-Port Arthur; Lawton, Okla. (20 percent, 300 jobs); and Odessa, according to a March 15 AGC of America report.

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