Florida construction employment declines slightly because of pandemic; but fares better than much of the US

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North Carolina Construction News staff writer

Construction employment in January remained below pre-pandemic levels in all but eight states, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America of government employment data released on March 15, while more firms have reduced headcount than have added to it in the past year, the association’s recent survey shows. Association officials said the jobs figures and survey results underscore the need for federal measures to stem future sector job losses.

Florida has done relatively well, reporting an overall decline of 2 percent for the year. Of course, some local markets did better than others. For example, Cape Coral-Fort Myers and Lakeland-Winter Haven reported a 5 percent employment gain, ranking these areas 27th nationally. Conversely, employment declined by 4 percent in Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach.

In detail, both statewide and by metro area, see below. (Numbers are for January 2020, January 2021, net change, percentage change, and national ranking)

  • Statewide Construction 567,900 556,100 -11,800 -2%
  • Statewide Mining, Logging, and Construction 573,400 561,500 -11,900 -2%
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers Mining, Logging, and Construction 32,400 34,000 1,600 5% 27
  • Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin Mining, Logging, and Construction 7,000 6,800 -200 -3% 177
  • Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach Mining, Logging, and Construction 14,100 14,700 600 4% 38
  • Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach Div.Construction 50,000 48,100 -1,900 -4% 211
  • Gainesville Mining, Logging, and Construction 6,100 6,100 0 0% 93
  • Jacksonville Construction 45,800 45,800 0 0% 93
  • Lakeland-Winter Haven Mining, Logging, and Construction 14,700 15,400 700 5% 27
  • Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall Div. Construction 53,400 51,600 -1,800 -3% 177
  • Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island Mining, Logging, and Construction 17,400 17,700 300 2% 69
  • North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton Mining, Logging, and Construction 26,300 27,000 700 3% 53
  • Ocala Mining, Logging, and Construction 8,600 8,700 100 1% 79
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford Construction 85,700 84,200 -1,500 -2% 155
  • Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville Mining, Logging, and Construction 16,100 16,600 500 3% 53
  • Panama City Mining, Logging, and Construction 7,100 7,100 0 0% 93
  • Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent Mining, Logging, and Construction 12,100 11,800 -300 -2% 155
  • Port St. Lucie Mining, Logging, and Construction 12,100 12,300 200 2% 69
  • Punta Gorda Mining, Logging, and Construction 4,400 4,400 0 0% 93
  • Sebastian-Vero Beach Mining, Logging, and Construction 4,400 4,400 0 0% 93
  • Tallahassee Mining, Logging, and Construction 8,500 8,300 -200 -2% 155
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Construction 82,900 83,900 1,000 1% 79
  • West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach Div. Construction 37,600 37,400 -200 -1% 136

“More contractors are telling us they are cutting headcount than adding workers, which is consistent with the new data showing the industry is shrinking in many parts of the country,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “More than three-fourth of the firms said projects had been postponed or canceled, while only one out of five reported winning new work or an add-on to an existing project in the previous two months as a result of the pandemic. That imbalance makes further job losses likely in many metros.”

Construction employment fell in 225, or 63 percent, of 358 metro areas between January 2020 and January 2021. Industry employment was stagnant in 41 additional metro areas, while only 92 metro areas—26 percent—added construction jobs.

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas lost the largest number of construction jobs over the 12-month period (-32,900 jobs, -14 percent), followed by New York City (-23,000 jobs, -15 percent); Midland, Texas (-11,100 jobs, -29 percent); and Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, Ill. (-10,400 jobs, -9 percent). Lake Charles, La. had the largest percentage decline (-40 percent, -8,100 jobs), followed by Odessa, Texas (-37 percent, -7,600 jobs); Midland; and Laredo, Texas (-27 percent, -1,100 jobs).

Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, Calif. added the most construction jobs over 12 months (3,500 jobs, 5 percent), followed by Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind. (3,100 jobs, 6 percent); Boise, Idaho (2,500 jobs, 9 percent); and Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. (2,100 jobs, 2 percent). Sierra Vista-Douglas, Ariz. had the highest percentage increase (42 percent, 1,000 jobs), followed by Bay City, Mich. (18 percent, 200 jobs); and Auburn-Opelika, Ala. (15 percent, 400 jobs).

Association officials are urging Congress and the Biden administration to work together to address rising materials prices, supply chain backups and invest in infrastructure. They are asking the administration to end tariffs on key construction materials, including steel and lumber, work with shippers to get deliveries back on track and pass the significant new infrastructure investments the president has promised.

“The construction industry won’t be able to fully recover and start adding jobs in significant numbers as long as materials prices continue to spike, deliveries remain unreliable and demand remains uncertain,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Federal officials can’t fix every problem, but they can help by removing tariffs, helping hard-hit shippers and boosting investments in the nation’s infrastructure.”

View the metro employment 12-month , , , . View AGC’s .

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