U.S. construction employment declines, amid fiscal uncertainty and waning public sector demand

December 05, 2012 04:30PM

Construction employment in October declined in 156 out of 337 American cities, according to a press release issued today by the Associated General Contractors of America. For the remainder of the cities, employment figures increased in 127 cities and remained the same in 54.

As The Real Deal reported last month, the figures declined in a total of 160 U.S. metro areas in September. AGCA officials attributed the declines to uncertainty about federal tax and investment programs and on declining public sector demand.

Today’s press release didn’t indicate causes for October’s results, but warned that construction jobs in the nation will be at risk if the “fiscal cliff” is not resolved. “If taxes hump and federal construction spending is slashed next month, even more metros will have construction job losses,” said AGCA Chief Economist Ken Simonson in the release.

A separate report issued by the AGCA notes that spending cuts would eliminate $6 billion in federal construction projects next year.

As for jobs, Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y. and Newark-Union, N.J.-Penn. were two regions that saw large losses. Nassau-Suffolk lost 5,600 jobs year-over-year — or a 9 percent decline. Newark-Union lost 4,000 jobs year-over-year, an 11 percent decline.

New York City saw a 0.2 percent decline in employment year-over-year with a loss of 200 jobs.

Pascagoula, Miss. added the highest percentage of construction jobs year-over-year: 1,400, or a 29 percent increase.

As The Real Deal reported this week, construction spending rose 1.4 percent in October. — Zachary Kussin