Phoenix Business Journal by Kristena Hansen, Reporter
Date: Thursday, October 4, 2012, 2:51pm MST
Metro Phoenix’s construction industry reached a milestone in August.
Adding the third-highest number of new jobs of any metropolitan area in the nation, the region pushed the size of its local workforce to a four-year high, according to an analysis released Thursday by the Associated General Contractors of America.
The Valley recorded 90,800 construction workers in August — an increase of 7 percent, or 6,300 jobs, from the same month last year, according to the analysis, which is based on the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Only Los Angeles and Houston brought on more workers than Phoenix, with the addition of 8,600 and 6,900 jobs, respectively, during the same time frame.
While such numbers are encouraging for the Valley’s construction industry, the area still has a long way to go, association officials said in the report.
Arizona has lost a total 244,300 construction jobs over the last six years, including about 94,000 in metro Phoenix. Even with the recent growth, the Valley employs only half of the construction workers it did in 2006, the report said.
Should the local industry continue to grow at the same rate, it could take more than a decade to return to that level.
“For an area that was once the poster child for the construction downturn, Phoenix is finally heading in the right direction,” AGC spokesman Brian Turmail said in the report. “Make no mistake, though, this area’s construction workforce is still just a fraction of what it was six years ago.”
Nationwide, the landscape for construction work was grim this summer. Almost half of the 337 metro areas the report examined lost construction jobs in August from last year, while 43 metro areas experienced no change. Phoenix was among only 130 that posted growth.