The growing urban swath connecting Phoenix, Mesa, and Scottsdale, Arizona, has proven to be a place of good news in construction hiring last year, according to a new report just issued by the Associated General Contractors of America.
For the period of November 2019 to last November, the southern Arizona region picked up around 4,700 new construction jobs, leading the nation, and coming in ahead of the equally booming urban/suburban/exurban region in and around Baltimore, with 4,500 new jobs.
Of the remaining half a dozen top construction job growth regions, four were located in the West, and included the thriving Dallas-Plano-Irving region with 3,700 new jobs in 2020.
Such numbers offered rare construction gains for the nation’s contractors, according to the AGC report, which also noted that only 34% of reporting metro areas across the country added new construction jobs between November 2019 and November 2020.
“Cancelled and postponed projects appear to be more common than new starts for far too many contractors,” Ken Simonson, AGC chief economist said in a statement.
Simonson added that the results of the group’s latest hiring and business outlook survey revealed that “three times more contractors have experienced postponements and cancellations than new or expanded projects.”
Overall, says the AGC report, construction employment was on the decline in 207 out of 358 reporting metro areas. At the same time, only 122 metro areas reported an increase in construction work.
These dire numbers appear likely to worsen in early 2021, said AGC chief executive officer Stephen Sandherr in forecasting a continuing increase in cancelled projects in the immediate months to come.
“Construction employment is likely to fall further in many parts of the country as the coronavirus continues to weigh on demand for nonresidential projects,” Sandherr remarked, also in a statement.
“Unless market conditions change rapidly, this year is likely to prove very challenging for many construction employers,” added Sandherr.
By Garry Boulard
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