Construction employment declined in 153 out of 337 metropolitan areas between September 2010 and September 2011, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America. Statewide, North Carolina lost 1,300 constructon-related jobs in the last year. South Carolina lost 2700 jobs in the same period.
Association officials noted that declines in publicly funded construction projects continue to offset modest improvements in the private sector market. “Despite the fact the industry added 26,000 new jobs in September, industry employment continues to fall in far too many metro areas,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Construction demand in many parts of the country seems to be ranging somewhere between tepid and non-existent.”
In North Carolina, Wilmington showed the most dramatic job loss: 1300 jobs (14 percent). Asheville lost 400 jobs (5%) and Charlotte lost 200 jobs (1 percent). Statewide, the only employment increases were in Raleigh/Cary (2,100 jobs, 7 percent) and Winston-Salem (400 jobs, 5 percent). South Carolina experienced a 3 percent construction job lossk in the same period. Both Augusta and Greenville lost 500 jobs (4 percent). Charleston lost 300 jobs (2 percent).
Association officials said that in addition to passing long-delayed highway, transit and airport investment legislation, elected officials should act quickly to establish a self-funded Water Trust Fund to address an estimate $600 billion in clean water infrastructure needs during the next 20 years. They also called on the Senate and Obama administration to support legislation expected to pass in the House today repealing the 3 percent tax withholding mandate that would devastate the construction industry.
“Instead of finding fiscally responsible ways to improve our aging infrastructure and keep our water clean, Washington is planning to force contractors working on public projects to give the government interest-free loans,” said the association’s chief executive officer Stephen E. Sandherr. “Unless Washington rethinks its priorities, even more metro areas are likely to lose construction jobs.” View construction employment figures by state .