R.I. sees 3rd-highest construction job contraction in April

Posted 5/17/13

ARLINGTON, Va. – During the past year, construction employment in Rhode Island fell nearly 9 percent, or 1,400 jobs, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.

The group announced Friday that Rhode Island ranks third among 20 other states and Washington, D.C., for highest percentage of jobs lost from April 2012 to April 2013.

The Ocean State trailed Vermont, which experienced an 11.3 percent decrease, or loss of 1,700 jobs, and South Dakota, which experienced a 9.6 percent decrease, losing 2,100 jobs. Illinois lost the most jobs, down 12,900, followed by Ohio, which declined by 9,200.

During the same period, 29 states experienced growth in construction jobs. Hawaii led all jurisdictions in the percentage of new construction jobs, growing 11.5 percent, or by 3,300 jobs, followed by Alaska at 9.1 percent and Louisiana with 8.1 percent. California added the most new construction jobs over the past 12 months, 44,800, followed by Texas with 41,500 jobs.

More recently, between March and April, the AGC noted that construction employment declined in 32 states and the District of Columbia. In Rhode Island, the industry experienced a 3.3 percent decrease in construction employment, a loss of 500 jobs.

Association officials noted that construction demand in a number of states appears to be slackening amid federal construction spending cuts and relatively weak private sector demand.

“The industry shows signs of recovering but employment growth continues to be uneven, with some areas seeing stronger gains even as others continue to contract,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, in prepared remarks. “In addition, recent federal construction spending cuts amid still modest private sector growth is making it hard for the industry to recover in more areas.”

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