CONSTRUCTION EMPLOYMENT in the Providence-Fall River-Warwick metro area remained flat in March compared with a year earlier, earning the region a spot at No. 198 in a ranking of U.S. metro areas by highest percentage of jobs gained during the 12-month period. Above, Mike Rothermal of Caldwell and Johnson Custom Builders, cuts trim on a construction site in Jamestown.
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Providence-Fall River-Warwick metro area added no construction jobs between March 2013 and March 2014, ranking the state at No. 198 among the 339 metro areas nationwide in terms of year-over-year net employment gain, according to the Associated General Contractors of America jobs report released April 28.
Altogether, 197 of the 339 metro areas in the United States registered an increase in construction jobs year over year in March, while 87 metros showed declines and 55 showed no change in employment.
“Much of the country experienced relatively robust growth in construction employment during the past year,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist of the AGC, in a release. “But the fact [that] construction employment remains below prior peak levels in most areas shows just how hard-hit the industry was during the downturn and how vulnerable it is to disruptions, such as a potential lapse in federal highway funding.”
The AGC said thousands of construction jobs could be at risk if Congress and President Barack Obama allow federal highway funding to end this summer, when the U.S. Highway Trust Fund is expected to be depleted.
“It would be an economic travesty to put thousands out of work and undermine the construction industry’s recovery because Washington officials don’t fix a problem they’ve known about for months,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the AGC.
The largest percentage year-over-year gains on construction employment for March were posted in Monroe, Mich., with 43 percent growth and a gain of 900 jobs, followed by El Centro, Calif., with 37 percent growth and 700 jobs, and Pascagoula, Miss., with 35 percent growth and 1,900 jobs. The largest declines occurred in Gary, Ind., which dropped 28 percent and lost 5,400 jobs; Yuba City, Calif., which declined 13 percent and lost 200 jobs; and Elkhart-Goshen, Ind., which dropped 12 percent and lost 300 jobs.
Regionally, the New Bedford metro area saw a 10 percent gain year over year, adding 200 construction jobs for a total of 2,300 in March 2014. New Bedford ranked at No. 30 among the nation’s metros for construction employment growth.
In the Norwich-New London metro area, which falls in both Connecticut and Rhode Island and ranked No. 289, construction employment fell 3 percent year over year in March to 3,500 jobs from 3,600 jobs compared with a year earlier.