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Construction employment increased in 139 out of 337 metropolitan areas, declined in 131 and was stagnant in 65 between December 2011 and December 2012, according to the Associated General Contractors of America’s analysis of federal employment data.
An increase in private sector demand — particularly in energy, health care, higher education and residential construction — for new construction projects boosted employment in a slight plurality of metro areas.
Pascagoula, Mississippi, added the highest percentage of new construction jobs at a 42-percent increase, or 1,900 new jobs. Haverhill-North Andover-Amesbury, Massachusetts-New Hampshire’s construction workforce increase by 22 percent, an added 800 jobs; Lafayette, Louisiana’s construction jobs increased by 17 percent, an added 1,100 jobs; and Omaha-Council Bluffs, Nebraska-Iowa saw a 16-percent increase in construction jobs, adding 3,000 jobs.
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas added the most jobs: 17,600 jobs, a 10-percent increase. Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas added 8,300 jobs, an 8-percent increase; Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Washington added 7,800 jobs, a 12-percent increase; Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Massachusetts added 5,900 jobs, a 12-percent increase; and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, California added 5,700 jobs, a 5-percent increase.
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Georgia saw the largest decrease in jobs, with 4,900 jobs lost, or a 5-percent decrease. Other major job losses include Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon-Washington, with 3,600 jobs lost, a 7-percent decrease; Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida, with 3,500 jobs lost, a 7-percent decrease; and Northern Virginia, with 3,200 jobs lost, or a 5-percent decrease.
Jackson, Mississippi lost the highest percentage of jobs at a decrease of 20 percent, or 2,000 jobs lost. Columbus, Indiana, experienced a 19-percent decrease, or 300 jobs lost; Springfield, Massachusetts-Connecticut, experienced an 18-percent decrease, 1,400 jobs lost; and Danville, Illinois, experienced a 13-percent decrease, a loss of 100 jobs.
The recovering housing market, as well as a strong demand for health care, energy and higher education facilities, boosted construction spending by more than 7 percent for the year through November. However, construction spending was still more than $300 billion below peak levels due to decreasing public sector activity and less demand for office, retail and lodging.