Statewide Florida construction employment: How has it fared with COVID-19?

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Construction employment declined in more than nine out of 10 metro areas from March to April, a time when industry employment typically increases in most locations, an by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America of new government data shows.

Florida data shows some inconsistencies. According to the report, statewide construction held steady between March and April, gaining 1 percent, reaching 57,910 workers.

But when you delve into the state’s metropolitan areas, the numbers show a decline — reaching 6 percent or more in some areas — with only the Jacksonville area reporting a .4% increase, or 200 additional workers, to 46,000.

Here are is the data for individual regions, with the number of employees in March, April, the percentage change and the number of employees added (or lost), and the national ranking.

  • Florida Statewide Construction 57,910 58,280 1% 370
  • Statewide Mining, Logging, and Construction 58,480 58,850 1% 370
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Mining, Logging, and Construction 33,200 31,500 -5% -1,700 98
  • Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Mining, Logging, and Construction 7,100 7,000 -1% -100 33
  • Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Mining, Logging, and Construction 14,600 14,400 -1% -200 33
  • Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach Construction 48,200 44,100 -9% -4,100 181
  • Gainesville Mining, Logging, and Construction 6,300 6,100 -3% -200 59
  • Jacksonville Construction 45,800 46,000 0.4% 200 20
  • Lakeland-Winter Haven Mining, Logging, and Construction 15,300 15,000 -2% -300 47
  • Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall Construction 53,200 50,600 -5% -2,600 98
  • Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island Mining, Logging, and Construction 18,500 17,700 -4% -800 75
  • North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton Mining, Logging, and Construction 26,600 24,900 -6% -1,700 121
  • Ocala Mining, Logging, and Construction 8,700 8,600 -1% -100 33
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford Construction 88,900 86,000 -3% -2,900 59
  • Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville Mining, Logging, and Construction 16,400 16,200 -1% -200 33
  • Panama City Mining, Logging, and Construction 7,400 7,200 -3% -200 59
  • Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent Mining, Logging, and Construction 12,900 12,100 -6% -800 121
  • Port St. Lucie Mining, Logging, and Construction 12,500 12,400 -1% -100 33
  • Punta Gorda Mining, Logging, and Construction 4,200 3,700 -12% -500 239
  • Sebastian-Vero Beach Mining, Logging, and Construction 4,600 4,400 -4% -200 75
  • Tallahassee Mining, Logging, and Construction 9,400 8,400 -11% -1,000 216
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Construction 83,000 80,100 -3% -2,900 59
  • West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach Construction 39,600 36,000 -9% -3,600 181

Association officials said new federal transportation funding could help restore many lost construction jobs, but cautioned that new legislation released today by House Democrats includes new regulatory measures that could undermine the broader goals of the measure.

“Today’s employment report shows how few areas were left unscathed by April’s unprecedented job losses,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Sadly, our latest survey shows project cancellations are escalating, making further job losses inevitable unless there is funding for widespread new projects.”

The economist said construction employment declined between March and April in 326, or 91 percent, out of 358 metro areas and increased in only 20 areas (6 percent). Industry employment was unchanged in 14 areas. Over the previous 30 years, 75 percent of metro areas added construction jobs from March to April, on average, while 12 percent of metros shed jobs.

New York City lost the largest number of construction jobs for the month: 75,900 jobs or 49 percent of the March total. There were also extremely large construction job losses in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. area, 44,200 jobs or 41 percent. Construction employment fell by half or more in three areas: Montgomery County-Bucks County-Chester County, Pa. (-54 percent, -27,200 jobs); Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich. (-52 percent, -26,100 jobs); and Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, Mass. (-50 percent, -2,300 jobs).

Simonson noted that more respondents in the association’s latest reported an upcoming project had been canceled in May or June than in April, implying that further job losses are likely. One-fifth of respondents reported a project scheduled to begin in May had been canceled, as did nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of respondents regarding a project scheduled to start in June or later, compared to 16 percent in April.

Association officials said new federal infrastructure investments in roads, bridges, transit and rail systems, like those proposed in a new transportation bill released today by House Democrats, would provide a needed boost to construction employment in many parts of the country and support a broader economic recovery. But they cautioned that new programmatic and regulatory requirements in the measure could undermine some the bill’s potential economic benefits. They urged Congressional leaders to work in a broad, bipartisan manner to rapidly pass a measure that expands highway capacity, improves bridges, builds transit and rail systems and supports long-term economic growth before current legislation expires.

“It is encouraging to see House Democrats proposing a significant increase in investments for transportation infrastructure,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “With over 40 million people unemployed and construction jobs declining in most metro areas, Congress needs to ensure that new, sustainable, investments bring as many people back to work as possible to help improve our aging highway, transit and rail systems.”

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