Construction jobs declined in 294 out of 337 metro areas in the past year. Houston lost 18,400 jobs, according to Ken Simonson with the Associated General Contractors of America.
"Only 16 metro areas out of 337 nationwide added jobs in the construction field. Houston actually lost the most jobs of any metro area, except for Chicago. Houston lost ten percent of its construction workforce between May 2009 and May 2010. Every single metro in Texas lost jobs. The biggest percentage loss was in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. They lost 11 percent of their jobs."
Simonson doesn't expect an immediate turnaround, especially with stalled federal infrastructure bills. But some sectors could see improvement.
"We should have some small improvements in homebuilding. I think that private, non-residential construction will continue to taper off, but at a milder rate. But I'm afraid that public construction may actually lose jobs at a faster rate than it had been. And currently, those three segments are all roughly the same size, so we're likely to see volatility from month to month, but no clear turnround toward the good."
The AGCA says Congress and the Obama administration need to quickly pass a number of multi-year infrastructure bills so construction firms can adjust their payrolls to meet future demand. Simonson says contractors are hesitant to expand payrolls until legislation sets funding levels for highways, transit systems, airports, waterways, drinking and sewer systems.