The Real Deal New York

NYC’s construction industry sheds more jobs, but outlook is brighter

May 31, 2012 03:00PM

The New York City construction industry employed fewer people in the first quarter of 2012 than it has at any point in the last 13 years. A New York Building Congress report released today found construction employment dropped 3 percent over the previous year to 102,600. The industry now employs 29,200 fewer people than it did in 2008.

Job losses over the last year were led by the heavy construction and civil engineering sector, which lost 2,600 jobs, a 32 percent decline. On the other hand, there were actually 1,300 more building construction workers in the first quarter of this year than there were during the same period a year ago. The data is based on state Department of Labor Statistics.

“We are encouraged by the uptick in employment for buildings workers, which suggests that private sector developers and institutions are beginning to invest once again in residential, commercial and institutional properties,” NYCB President Richard Anderson said.

The news isn’t all bad for the industry. Wages during the most recent available period, the first nine months of 2011, increased to an average of $51,000. That’s up from $49,200 and $48,600 in 2010 and 2009, respectively.

Further, expectations moving forward are positive. NYCB predics that employment will take a huge jump to 120,800 this year and that the average earnings will surpass $70,000 for the first time. The wage prediction is so much greater than previous years because it takes into account the fourth-quarter, when year-end bonuses boost most workers’ intakes. — Adam Fusfeld