AGC’s Data DIGest September 26-30, 2016

Number of metros with job gains hits three-year low; nonresidential starts rise sharply

   Construction employment, not seasonally adjusted, increased from August 2015 to August 2016 in 220 (61%) of the 358 metro areas (including divisions of larger metros) for which BLS provides construction employment data, decreased in 76 (21%) and was stagnant in 62, according to an AGC release and map on Wednesday. (BLS combines mining and logging with construction in most metros.) The number of metros with increases was the smallest since April 2013 but the number with decreases was similar to other months; this could suggest contractors in some metros are unable to find the workers with requisite skills. The Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro area again added the most (11,400 combined jobs, 12%), followed by the Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. division (10,200 construction jobs, 11%) and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (10,200 construction jobs, 17%) and the %). The largest percentage gains again occurred in Boise, Idaho (24%, 4,500 combined jobs) and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford. The largest job losses occurred in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land (-3,700 construction jobs, -2%), followed by Birmingham-Hoover, Ala. (-1,500 construction jobs, -6%) and Louisville/Jefferson County, Ky.-Ind. (-1,400 combined jobs, -5%). The largest percentage declines again were in Bloomington, Ill. (-16%, -500 combined jobs), followed by Lawton, Okla. (-11%, -200 combined jobs); Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, Ala. (-11%, -100 combined jobs) and Dothan, Ala. (-11%, -300 combined jobs). (Not-seasonally-adjusted data should not be compared to other months.)
Construction data firm ConstructConnect (formerly CMD, Reed Construction Data) reported on September 20 that the value of nonresidential construction starts, not seasonally adjusted, increased 11% from August 2015 and the YTD total was up 12% from January-August 2015. Nonresidential building starts increased 17% YTD, with institutional starts rising 17.5%, commercial starts up 22.5%, industrial starts down 42% and miscellaneous starts up 92%. Heavy engineering (civil) starts climbed 12% YTD, with gains of 1.6% for the largest subsegment (road/highway) and 12% for the next-largest (water/sewage).

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