Only five out of 337 metropolitan areas posted an increase in construction employment between October 2008 and October 2009, according to a new analysis of Contractors of America. Construction employment nationally lost 1.1 million jobs during the 12-month period, with 328 metro areas reporting losses and four remaining flat.
“Imagine if the entire population of greater Salt Lake city lost their jobs, because that’s basically what has happened to construction employment in America’s largest communities,” said AGC chief economist Ken Simonson. “In many communities, construction employment isn’t just contracting, it’s collapsing.”
Simonson said Reno-Sparks, Nev., had the largest percentage decline with a 32-percent drop in construction employment. Other large percentage declines were Kokomo, Ind. (31 percent); Redding, Calif. (30 percent); El Centro, Calif. (29 percent); and Cleveland (28 percent). Phoenix lost the most construction jobs (33,000), followed by Atlanta (24,700) and Las Vegas (24,500).
Columbus, Ind., had the highest gain (20 percent). The other four cities with increases were Anderson, Ind. (6 percent); Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa. (5 percent), Tulsa, Okla. (3 percent), and Davenport, Iowa, at 1 percent.