Florida construction employment declines 2 percent in year as COVID-19 takes its toll

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While COVID-19 dampened the Florida’s overall state-wide construction employment in the year ending November, 2020, the results vary significantly by location.

Some communities, notably Panama City and Port St. Lucie reported a 10 percent employment increase, ranking them the 11th strongest in the nation, according to US Labor Department data compiled and analyzed by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

Conversely, the much larger Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach market area showed a 14 per cent decline, with a loss of 6,800 jobs.

Statewide, construction employment declined by 13,800 or 2% to 562,500 from 576,300.

Here is a detailed list by market area.The numbers represent employment in November 2019, 2020, the actual gain/loss, the percentage change, and the national ranking.

  • Statewide Construction 576,300 562,500 -13,800 -2%
  • Statewide Mining, Logging, and Construction 582,000 568,000 -14,000 -2%
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers Mining, Logging, and Construction 33,300 35,000 1,700 5% 41
  • Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin Mining, Logging, and Construction 6,900 7,100 200 3% 70
  • Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach Mining, Logging, and Construction 14,500 14,700 200 1% 105
  • Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach Div.Construction 50,000 43,200 -6,800 -14% 320
  • Gainesville Mining, Logging, and Construction 6,100 6,200 100 2% 86
  • Jacksonville Construction 46,600 47,000 400 1% 105
  • Lakeland-Winter Haven Mining, Logging, and Construction 15,000 16,100 1,100 7% 27 Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall Div. Construction 53,700 55,000 1,300 2% 86
  • Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island Mining, Logging, and Construction 18,500 18,800 300 2% 86
  • North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton Mining, Logging, and Construction 26,300 26,400 100 0.4% 121
  • Ocala Mining, Logging, and Construction 8,700 9,100 400 5% 41
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford Construction 88,000 85,500 -2,500 -3% 186
  • Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville Mining, Logging, and Construction 16,100 15,900 -200 -1% 161
  • Panama City Mining, Logging, and Construction 7,100 7,800 700 10% 11
  • Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent Mining, Logging, and Construction 12,300 12,600 300 2% 86
  • Port St. Lucie Mining, Logging, and Construction 12,300 13,100 800 7% 27
  • Punta Gorda Mining, Logging, and Construction 4,200 4,600 400 10% 11
  • Sebastian-Vero Beach Mining, Logging, and Construction 4,500 4,700 200 4% 55
  • Tallahassee Mining, Logging, and Construction 8,900 8,800 -100 -1% 161
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Construction 83,300 77,900 -5,400 -6% 244
  • West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach Div. Construction 40,000 40,200 200 1% 105

Nationally, only 34 percent of the nation’s metro areas—just over one-third—added construction jobs from November 2019 to November 2020, AGCA reported. Association officials said large numbers of contractors are having to lay off workers once they complete projects begun before the pandemic because private owners and public agencies are hesitant to commit to new construction.

“Canceled and postponed projects appear to be more common than new starts for far too many contractors,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Our association’s 2021 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook Survey found three times more contractors have experienced postponements and cancellations than new or expanded projects.”

Construction employment fell in 203, or 57 percent, of 358 metro areas between November 2019 and November 2020. Construction employment was stagnant in 33 additional metro areas, while only 122 metro areas—34 percent—added construction jobs during the past year.

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas lost the most construction jobs over that span (-22,500 jobs, -9 percent), followed by New York City (-16,700 jobs, -11 percent); Midland, Texas (-9,800 jobs, -25 percent); Montgomery-Bucks-Chester counties, Pa. (-8,800 jobs, -16 percent); and Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley, Calif. (-8,400 jobs, -11 percent). Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, Mass. had the largest percentage decline (-40 percent, -2,200 jobs), followed by Altoona, Pa. (-35 percent, -1,100 jobs); Bloomsburg-Berwick, Pa. (-31 percent, -400 jobs); Johnstown, Pa. (-31 percent, -800 jobs); and East Stroudsburg, Pa. (-30 percent, -600 jobs).

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. added the most construction jobs over the year (4,700 jobs, 3 percent), followed by Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md. (4,500 jobs, 5 percent); Boise, Idaho (4,300 jobs, 16 percent); Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (3,700 jobs, 2 percent); and Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. (3,600 jobs, 3 percent). Walla Walla, Wash. had the highest percentage increase (17 percent, 200 jobs), followed by Boise; Oshkosh-Neenah, Wisc. (16 percent, 900 jobs); and Springfield, Mo. (16 percent, 1,500 jobs).

Association officials said many metro areas were likely to lose more construction jobs amid declining demand and continued project cancellations and delays. They added that a clearer picture of what is in store for the industry will emerge on Thursday, January 7, when the association releases the 2021 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook it prepared with Sage.

“Construction employment is likely to fall further in many parts of the country as the coronavirus continues to weigh on demand for nonresidential projects,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Unless market conditions change rapidly, this year is likely to prove very challenging for many construction employers.”

View the metro employment 12-month , , , , .

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