Construction employment fell in 276 of the nation’s largest 299 metro areas from April 2008 to April 2009, according to a government-data analysis by AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson
Source: Associated General Contractors of America, Alexandria, Va.
Construction employment fell in 276 of the nation’s largest 299 metro areas from April 2008 to April 2009, according to a government-data analysis by AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson. Job loss figures like these are exactly what prompted Congress to craft a stimulus package designed to get Americans back to work as quickly as possible, he notes. Putting these funds to good use as quickly as possible is the best way to get Americans back to work and the economy back on track.
Buy American provisions are potentially delaying some contract awards for stimulus projects, Simonson adds. We need to make sure needless red tape and regulations donÌt keep construction workers off the job. There’s a real risk that Buy American provisions, for example, could undermine the very purpose of the stimulus.
Among the communities seeing the largest declines in construction employment during the past year were Tucson, Ariz., 29.2 percent; Redding, Calif., 31.6 percent; Reno-Sparks, Nev., 29.1 percent; Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., 23.6 percent; and, Pascagoula, Miss., 38.8 percent. Construction employment grew in only 19 metro areas, led by Odessa, Texas, 8 percent; Baton Rouge, La., 7.3 percent; and, Decatur, Ill., 5.7 percent. With April 2009 unemployment at 18.7 percent, Simonson affirms, the construction sector has seen the largest decline in employment compared to the overall economy, where the jobless rate is 8.6 percent.