Phoenix Business Journal by Kristena Hansen, Reporter
Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 2:56pm MST
That improvement — a 5 percent gain — brought the Valley’s construction workforce to 90,400 jobs in September, according to the report, which is generated from the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
The biggest year-over-year gain was in the Houston area with 12,300 new construction jobs during the same period. The Seattle area came in second place with the addition of 6,000 new jobs and was followed by Boston’s 5,200 job growth compared with last year.
Phoenix and the aforementioned cities, however, were among the minority of metropolitan areas that are experiencing a rebound in their local construction industries.
For example, almost half of the 337 metro areas examined in the report actually saw construction employment decline from last year while 15 percent saw no improvement. The Valley was among the minority 37 percent that saw a positive change year-over-year.
“A lot of project owners appear to be taking a time out until Washington officials can set tax rates for next year and figure out what to do about the planned sequestration cuts,” Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, said in the report. “Few businesses are going to invest in major new projects when they don’t even know what they will be paying in taxes next year or what direction the economy will be heading.”
Construction jobs statewide have also improved compared with last year, though to a smaller degree. Arizona recorded 117,600 total construction jobs in September, which is up 3 percent, or 3,300 jobs, from the same time last year.
That year-over-year growth also ranked Arizona 15th for the largest percentage gain in construction employment, while more than half of the country experienced declines, the report said.