Steel Products

September Construction Employment Supported by Robust Demand

Written by Sandy Williams

Robust demand in the construction industry is helping to elevate employment levels in the sector.

Construction employment increased in 278 out of 358 metro areas between September 2017 and September 2018, declined in 42 and was unchanged in 38, according to a new analysis of federal employment data by the Associated General Contractors of America.

The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas, metro area added the most construction jobs during the past year (29,500 jobs, 14 percent). Other metro areas adding a large number of construction jobs during the past 12 months include Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. (14,600 jobs, 13 percent); Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (14,100 jobs, 10 percent); and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla. (12,300 jobs, 17 percent). The largest percentage gain occurred in Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Fla. (27 percent, 3,600 jobs), followed by Midland, Texas (23 percent, 6,600 jobs); Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla. (22 percent, 9,600 jobs); and Weirton-Steubenville, W.Va.-Ohio (21 percent, 400 jobs).

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The largest job losses from September 2017 to September 2018 were in Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean, N.J. (-4,000 jobs, -10 percent), followed by Newark, N.J.-Pa. (-3,000 jobs, -6 percent); Camden, N.J. (-2,500 jobs, -11 percent); Spokane-Spokane Valley, Wash. (-2,100 jobs, -14 percent) and Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md. (-2,100 jobs, -3 percent). The largest percentage decrease occurred in Spokane-Spokane Valley, followed by Camden, Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean and Charleston, W.V. (-7 percent, -500 jobs).

AGC says tax and regulatory reform continue to boost private-sector demand, and modest increases in infrastructure funding are supporting public-sector investment levels. So far, firms seem to be weathering higher labor and materials costs resulting from U.S. and global trade issues. AGC officials urged Washington to reconsider any further tariffs that could undermine economic growth.

“Many construction firms are expanding their headcount as they benefit from favorable market conditions,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “The question is whether conditions will remain positive amid a growing trade dispute with China and turbulent stock market conditions.”

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