City hits lowest construction employment level in 13 years

May 19, 2011 11:19AM

Despite hints of recovery scattered across segments the city’s real estate industry, the construction sector continues to reach new employment lows, while wages increase. Construction employment fell to 101,200 jobs in the first quarter of 2011, a 7 percent decline from the same period a year ago and the lowest total since the second quarter of 1998, according to New York Building Congress’ analysis of New York State Department of Labor statistics released today. The data examines the number of employees on payroll and not days worked, so the snowy 2011 winter does not impact the numbers. Of all sectors of construction, only heavy construction and civil engineering gained jobs thanks to the city’s public infrastructure projects, according to the report. Though employment was down, construction wages actually increased to $49,249 in the first nine months of 2010, up $669 from the same period in 2009. Though the numbers paint a grim picture, Richard Anderson, president of the New York Building Congress, said the findings fall in line with his expectations. “The construction industry historically lags the broader economy. We are one of the last to feel the effects of a downturn, as well as one of the last to recover,” he said. “In this respect, a drop in employment is not too surprising in and of itself.” TRD