Good news for Panama City, bad news for Miami in COVID-19 construction jobs statistics

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Statewide, Florida’s construction employment has declined by about 2 per cent from before the COVID-19 pandemic started in March, 2020, until today — but local variations indicate that some areas of the state have fared much better than others.

For example, employment grew by 6 per cent in the Panhandle community of Panama City, while it declined by 7 per cent in the much larger Miami metropolitan area, according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics data analyzed by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America.

See data below for several Florida communities. The numbers in order reflect employment figures in February, 2020, April 2021, the net change, percentage difference, and the national ranking.

  • Florida Statewide Construction 574,500 565,200 -9,300 -2%
  • Statewide Mining, Logging, and Construction 580,000 570,500 -9,500 -2%
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL Mining, Logging, and Construction 33,100 34,800 1,700 5% 118
  • Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL Mining, Logging, and Construction 7,100 7,100 0 0% 218
  • Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL Mining, Logging, and Construction 14,200 15,000 800 6% 95
  • Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, FL Div.Construction 50,300 49,200 -1,100 -2% 262
  • Gainesville, FL Mining, Logging, and Construction 6,100 6,400 300 5% 118 Jacksonville, FL Construction 46,300 46,600 300 1% 203
  • Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL Mining, Logging, and Construction 14,900 15,400 500 3% 157
  • Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL Div. Construction 54,400 50,800 -3,600 -7% 315
  • Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL Mining, Logging, and Construction 17,400 17,900 500 3% 157
  • North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL Mining, Logging, and Construction 26,700 27,600 900 3% 157
  • Ocala, FL Mining, Logging, and Construction 8,700 8,900 200 2% 180
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL Construction 86,600 85,800 -800 -1% 254
  • Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL Mining, Logging, and Construction 15,700 16,500 800 5% 118
  • Panama City, FL Mining, Logging, and Construction 7,100 7,500 400 6% 95
  • Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL Mining, Logging, and Construction 12,100 12,200 100 1% 203
  • Port St. Lucie, FL Mining, Logging, and Construction 12,400 13,000 600 5% 118
  • Punta Gorda, FL Mining, Logging, and Construction 4,400 4,600 200 5% 118
  • Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL Mining, Logging, and Construction 4,500 4,600 100 2% 180
  • Tallahassee, FL Mining, Logging, and Construction 8,500 8,400 -100 -1% 254
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Construction 84,700 85,400 700 1% 203
  • West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, FL Div. Construction 37,900 37,400 -500 -1% 254

Nationally, association officials said that construction employment in many parts of the country was being undermined by pandemic-induced project delays, materials price spikes and shortages, and difficulties finding labor

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas lost the largest number of construction jobs over the 14-month period (-29,300 jobs, -12 percent), followed by New York City (-22,300 jobs, -14 percent); Midland, Texas (-9,800 jobs, -26 percent); Odessa, Texas (-8,000 jobs, -39 percent); and Lake Charles, La. (7,200 jobs, -36 percent). Odessa had the largest percentage decline, followed by Lake Charles; Midland; Laredo, Texas (-23 percent, -7,200 jobs) and Longview, Texas (-23 percent, -3,400 jobs).

Construction employment was stagnant in 34 additional metro areas, while 217 metro areas—61 percent—added construction jobs over the pre-pandemic (February 2020) level. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind. added the most construction jobs over 14 months (7,900 jobs, 15 percent), followed by Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, Ill. (6,300 jobs, 5 percent); Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. (6,200 jobs, 6 percent); Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis. (5,900 jobs, 8 percent); and Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, Calif. (5,300 jobs, 8 percent).

Sierra Vista-Douglas, Ariz. had the highest percentage increase (44 percent, 1,100 jobs), followed by Fargo, N.D.-Minn. (34 percent, 2,500 jobs); Lawrence-Methuen Town Salem, Mass-N.H. (29 percent, 1,000 jobs); Bay City, Mich. (27 percent, 300 jobs) and Taunton-Middleborough-Norton, Mass. (22 percent, 700 jobs).

Association officials called on the Biden administration to take steps to address rising materials prices and growing labor shortages. These steps include removing tariffs on key construction materials like steel, lumber and aluminum. And they include ending unemployment insurance supplements that are providing incentives for qualified workers to stay off payrolls for now.

“Washington has put in place a number of artificial barriers that are holding back the construction industry’s recovery,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Washington’s tariffs are making materials more expensive while its unemployment supplements are making workers more hesitant to return to payrolls.”

View the metro employment 14-month , , , , and .

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