NYC metro area construction employment declines 6% but Rochester sees a 12% increase: AGC

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Construction employment declined six per cent in the New York City (NYC) Metropolitan area from August 2020 to August 2021, offsetting gains in other areas in the state, according to government data compiled by theAssociated General Contractors (AGC) of America from government data on Sept. 29.

Overall, the state lost 8,800 construction jobs (2%). Notably, Rochester’s construction market thrived with a 12% increase or 2,600 jobs.  Conversely, New York City lost 8,600 jobs, or 6%.

The numbers indicate employment levels in August, 2020, August, 2021, the actual change, and the percentage difference, and the community’s national ranking.

  • Statewide Construction 387,400 378,100 -9,300 -2%
  • Statewide Mining, Logging, and Construction 392,800 384,000 -8,800 -2%
  • Albany-Schenectady-Troy Mining, Logging, and Construction 21,000 22,400 1,400 7% 68
  • Binghamton Mining, Logging, and Construction 4,300 4,500 200 5% 110
  • Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls Mining, Logging, and Construction 22,000 24,000 2,000 9% 37
  • Dutchess County-Putnam County Div. Mining, Logging, and Construction 8,100 8,200 100 1% 243
  • Elmira Mining, Logging, and Construction 1,600 1,600 0 0% 257
  • Glens Falls Mining, Logging, and Construction 2,600 2,700 100 4% 149
  • Ithaca Mining, Logging, and Construction 1,300 1,300 0 0% 257
  • Kingston Mining, Logging, and Construction 2,800 2,900 100 4% 149
  • Nassau County-Suffolk County Div. Mining, Logging, and Construction 79,300 74,200 -5,100 -6% 343
  • New York City Mining, Logging, and Construction 145,000 136,400 -8,600 -6% 343
  • Orange-Rockland-Westchester Mining, Logging, and Construction 43,500 42,000 -1,500 -3.0% 319
  • Rochester Construction 22,300 24,900 2,600 12% 13
  • Syracuse Mining, Logging, and Construction 14,000 14,000 0 0% 257
  • Utica-Rome Mining, Logging, and Construction 3,700 3,900 200 5% 110
  • Watertown-Fort Drum Mining, Logging, and Construction 1,900 1,700 -200 -11% 356

Nationally, nearly one-third of U.S. metro areas lost construction jobs between August 2020 and August 2021, according to the AGC .

Association officials noted that the job losses are occurring as the fate of a bipartisan infrastructure bill that would boost demand for construction remains uncertain in the U.S. House of Representatives.“While construction activity has rebounded from pandemic lows in many metros, the recovery is fragile,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Extreme production and delivery delays, along with continuing high materials costs, may lead to project cancellations and postponements that cut into job gains.”

Construction employment declined from a year earlier in 65 metros and held steady in 37. New York City lost the most jobs (-8,600 jobs or -6 percent), followed by Nassau County-Suffolk County, N.Y. (-5,100 jobs, -6 percent); Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla. (-3,200 jobs, -6 percent); Calvert-Charles-Prince George’s, Md. (-2,400 jobs, -7 percent) and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (-2,300 jobs, -1 percent). The largest percentage declines were in Evansville, Ind.-Ky. (-14 percent, -1,400 jobs); Tuscaloosa, Ala. (-12 percent, -800 jobs); Watertown-Fort Drum, N.Y. (-11 percent, -200 jobs); Morristown, Tenn. (-10 percent, -200 jobs); Victoria, Texas (-9 percent, -300 jobs) and Gadsden, Ala. (-9 percent, -100 jobs).

Construction employment increased in 256 out of 358 metro areas over the last 12 months. San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif. added the most construction jobs (8,900 jobs, 11 percent; followed by Sacramento-Roseville–Arden-Arcade, Calif. (8,600 jobs, 12 percent); Pittsburgh, Pa. (7,200 jobs, 12 percent); Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass. (6,300 jobs, 9 percent) and St. Louis, Mo. (6,300 jobs, 9 percent). Lawrence-Methuen Town-Salem, Mass. had the highest percentage increase (26 percent, 900 jobs); followed by Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas (23 percent, 3,600 jobs); Bloomington, Ill. (17 percent, 500 jobs); and Sierra Vista-Douglas, Ariz. (16 percent, 500 jobs).

Association officials urged members of both parties in the House to vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, noting its new funding was needed to modernize the nation’s aging highways and transit systems. They noted the measure is slated for a vote this Thursday and cautioned that the industry was likely to lose more construction jobs without the measure.

“This is the kind of infrastructure bill that Democrats and Republicans have been promising to pass for years now,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Failing to pass this measure will create new challenges for the economy.”

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