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Only 9 of 337 Metropolitan Areas Add Construction Jobs Between January 2009 and 2010 as Industry Pain Continues


Phoenix Loses Most Jobs While Steubenville-Weirton, Ohio-West Virginia Experience Largest Percentage Decline, Eau Claire, Wisconsin Has Largest Increase in Construction Employment

Construction employment continued to shrink in most American communities as 313 out of 337 metro areas lost construction jobs between January 2009 and January 2010 according to a new analysis of federal employment figures released March 18 by the Associated General Contractors of America. The figures underscore just how hard hit the construction industry has been nationwide, association officials noted.

"It's difficult to imagine that many regions will bounce back when so many construction workers are unemployed," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "Worse, with virtually every city suffering significant construction job losses, there's nowhere to hide from what is clearly a construction depression."

Simonson noted that Phoenix, Arizona again lost more construction jobs (27,600) than any other city in America. Steubenville, Ohio and Weirton, West Virginia, experienced the largest percentage decline in construction employment (44 percent, 1,600 jobs), followed by Grand Junction, Colorado (34 percent, 3,400 jobs); Las Vegas, Nevada (32 percent, 24,500 jobs); Napa, California (32 percent, 1,100 jobs); and Santa Cruz, California (31 percent, 1,100 jobs.)

Eau Claire, Wisconsin added the most construction jobs (500) between January 2009 and January 2010, and experienced the largest percentage increase (23 percent) Simonson noted. Other cities adding construction jobs included Ithaca, New York (9 percent, 100 jobs); Michigan City, Indiana (6 percent, 100 jobs); Waterbury, Connecticut (5 percent, 100 jobs); and Grand Forks, North Dakota and Minnesota (5 percent, 100 jobs).

The construction economist noted that 230 metropolitan areas experienced double-digit percentage decreases in construction employment while no city experienced a double-digit increase in construction employment. Meanwhile, 18 cities nationwide lost more than 10,000 construction jobs between January 2009 and 2010.

Simonson said the figures underscore the need for new investments in infrastructure as well as new tax incentives designed to stimulate private sector demand. "If we can't find a way to keep what's left of the industry working, construction job losses are only going to get worse."

View construction employment by state and by ranking.

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