Construction employment increased in 171 out of 337 metropolitan areas between February 2011 and February 2012, decreased in 119 and stayed level in 47, according to an analysis of federal employment data by the Associated General Contractors of America.
Association officials said employment was increasing in many metro areas in large part to growing private sector demand for construction. “It is encouraging that the number of metro areas experiencing construction job gains outpaced the number of areas with losses,” Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, said in a statement. “The increases would be even more widespread if not for public sector budget woes and a shaky homebuilding market.”
Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J. added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (33 percent, 1,300 jobs.) Virginia saw a gain of 200 jobs, from 171,900 to 172,100 during the time period.
The Arlington-based association noted that private sector construction spending rose by 10 percent in the past year even as public sector investments in construction activity have dropped by 1 percent. They said that tight state and local budgets, the winding down of construction activity funded by the stimulus and Base Realignment and Closure programs (BRAC) and delayed congressional action on a number of infrastructure bills were holding back broader construction employment gains.
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