NC Construction Employment Increases in Five Out of Thirteen Metro Areas

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Construction employment gains spread to more metropolitan areas between July 2012 and July 2013 than in previous months but full recovery remained elusive as only a few areas have exceeded pre-recession employment records, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said that despite the gains, Construction employment remains below peak levels in most metro areas.

Construction employment fell 1 percent (-1,600 jobs) in North Carolina between July 2012 and July 2013.

The NC metro areas with construction employment increases included: Tidewater-Northeastern NC (12 percent, 4,300 jobs), Charlotte-Gastonia, Rock Hill (4 percent, 1,500 jobs), Burlington (4 percent, 100 jobs), Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton (3 percent, 100 jobs) and Durham-Chapel Hill (1 percent, 100 jobs).

Four NC metro areas lost construction jobs in the year-to-year period: Raleigh-Cary (-8 percent, -2,400 jobs), Greenville (-4 percent, -100 jobs), Asheville (-3 percent, -200 jobs) and Wilmington (-1 percent, -100 jobs).  Construction Employment was unchanged in, Fayetteville, Greensboro-High Point, Rocky Mount and Winston-Salem.

“The good news is that 201 metro areas added construction jobs in the past year, the largest number with year-over-year gains since March 2012,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “But construction employment is at an all-time July high in only 19 of those areas. At the other extreme, construction employment declined in 90 metros in the last 12 months, and 28 areas have lost at least half of the construction employees they once had.” Construction employment was stable in the past year in 48 metros, he added.

Association officials said that construction employment in many metro areas appears to be benefitting from a steady growth in demand for private-sector construction projects, especially for residential construction. But they noted construction spending and employment levels are still 25 percent below peak levels from 2006 and that public sector demand for construction remains relatively weak.

“The construction market is definitely better than it was just a few years ago, but we are still a long way from a full recovery,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “But with many former construction workers now employed in other industries, a number of firms are likely to have an increasingly hard time finding enough skilled workers if employment continues to expand.”  View construction employment figures by stateRead More.