WASHINGTON — Construction employment rose in 185 out of 339 metropolitan areas — including the New Bedford area and the Norwich-New London metro area — declined in 115 — including the Providence-Fall River-Warwick area — and remained stagnant in 39 metropolitan areas from May 2012 to May 2013, according to a report released by the Associated General Contractors of America on Friday.
The Providence metro area lost 900 jobs in construction over the year, a 5 percent decline to 19,100 jobs, not seasonally adjusted. The drop earned the Providence metro area the No. 291 rank out of 339 metro areas for construction job growth.
The New Bedford metro area, meanwhile, saw a 9 percent increase to 2,500 in the construction, mining and logging industry. The increase earned the New Bedford metro area the No. 39 rank.
“It appears that the months-long growth in private sector demand for a host of residential and non-residential construction work is finally translating into significant numbers of new construction jobs in many parts of the country,” Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, said in prepared remarks.
Simonson added that: “Even though some metro areas will continue to lose construction jobs, sector employment is likely to continue expanding in most parts of the country for the immediate future.”
Nonetheless, association officials tempered their assessment of the mostly positive figures with the observation that years of unfavorable job prospects — combined with a lack of attention to vocational and skills-based educational programs — have discouraged many job seekers from pursuing careers in construction.
The association also noted in the report that “contractors in some faster growing metro areas were likely to have a tougher time finding skilled workers if the industry continues to add jobs.”
Statewide, Rhode Island experienced a 7 percent decline in construction industry jobs over the year, dropping from 16,100 construction jobs to 15,000, a loss of 1,100.
Statewide, Massachusetts saw a 5 percent increase —a gain of 5,800 jobs — in construction industry jobs over the year, when figures rose from 114,700 jobs to 120,500.