California loses about 50,000 construction jobs because of pandemic: AGCA data

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California has lost about 50,000 construction jobs in the past year because of the economic recession from the COViD-19 pandemic — about 5 percent lower than the previous year’s totals above 900,000 workers.

Data compiled from the US Department of Labor by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGCA) shows that the state overall ended up somewhere in the middle of the national data, though some areas were harder-hit — notably the San Francisco area which lost 8 percent or 3,800 of its construction jobs.

Smaller communities (which include mining and logging in the totals) showed even more dramatic percentage discrepancies. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo showed a 14 percent decline while Santa Maria-Santa Barbara Construction went against the trend, with a seven percent jobs increase.

declined 10%, or 41,700 jobs. Not surprisingly given its size, New York City counted for the majority of the state’s overall job loss, at 21,700 (representing a 13% decline).

Here is the data by metropolitan area listed by area, industry, employment numbers for August 2019, numbers for Aug. 2020, the 12-month gain or loss, the percentage change and the area’s ranking nationally.

  • California Statewide Construction 910,600 860,800 -49,800 -5%
  • Statewide Mining, Logging, and Construction 933,700 882,800 -50,900 -5%
  • Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, CA Div. Construction 108,700 105,300 -3,400 -3% 147 Bakersfield Construction 16,700 16,600 -100 -1% 118
  • Chico Mining, Logging, and Construction 4,800 4,300 -500 -10% 264
  • El Centro Mining, Logging, and Construction 2,000 2,000 0 0% 89
  • Fresno Construction 19,800 18,100 -1,700 -9% 255
  • Hanford-Corcoran Mining, Logging, and Construction 1,000 1,000 0 0% 89
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale Div. Construction 152,200 146,400 -5,800 -4% 180
  • Madera Mining, Logging, and Construction 2,000 2,000 0 0% 89
  • Merced Mining, Logging, and Construction 2,800 2,700 -100 -4% 180
  • Modesto Mining, Logging, and Construction 10,700 9,900 -800 -7% 234
  • Napa Mining, Logging, and Construction 4,900 4,800 -100 -2% 133
  • Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley Div. Construction 78,100 67,100 -11,000 -14% 306
  • Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura Construction 17,500 17,300 -200 -1% 118
  • Redding Mining, Logging, and Construction 4,300 4,100 -200 -5% 194
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario Construction 110,500 103,400 -7,100 -6% 211
  • Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade Construction 72,800 65,700 -7,100 -10% 264
  • Salinas Construction 6,700 6,500 -200 -3% 147
  • San Diego-Carlsbad Construction 86,400 82,800 -3,600 -4% 180
  • San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA Div. Construction 44,800 41,000 -3,800 -8% 245
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara Construction 54,300 51,300 -3,000 -6% 211
  • San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande Mining, Logging, and Construction 8,400 7,200 -1,200 -14% 306
  • San Rafael Div. Construction 8,000 7,500 -500 -6% 211
  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville Mining, Logging, and Construction 4,600 4,700 100 2% 55
  • Santa Maria-Santa Barbara Construction 8,900 9,500 600 7% 18
  • Santa Rosa Construction 17,100 16,400 -700 -4% 180
  • Stockton-Lodi Construction 13,700 12,900 -800 -6% 211
  • Vallejo-Fairfield Construction 13,000 12,700 -300 -2% 133
  • Visalia-Porterville Mining, Logging, and Construction 6,600 6,900 300 5% 27
  • Yuba City Mining, Logging, and Construction 3,200 3,000 -200 -6% 211

Nationally, construction employment decreased in 241, or 67 percent, out of 358 metro areas between August 2019 and last month, AGC reported on Oct. 1. Association officials urged Congress to pass new coronavirus relief measures before leaving town.

“Although residential construction is picking up in many areas, public and nonresidential construction are shrinking,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Project cancellations are spreading, and fewer new projects are starting up. That combination makes further employment declines inevitable unless the federal government steps up support for infrastructure.”

Simonson noted that construction employment was stagnant in 29 metro areas and increased in only 88 areas (25 percent) over the past 12 months. Nineteen metros had all-time lows for August construction employment, while 33 areas had record highs for August, in data going back to 1990 for most areas.

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas lost the most construction jobs over 12 months (-22,800 jobs, -10 percent), followed by New York City (-21,700 jobs, -13 percent). Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, Mass. had the largest percentage decline (-38 percent, -2,200 jobs), followed by Johnstown, Pa. (-34 percent, -1,000 jobs).

Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind. added the most construction jobs from August 2019 to August 2020 (4,800 jobs, 9 percent), followed by Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md. (4,300 jobs, 5 percent). Niles-Benton Harbor, Mich. had the highest percentage increase (16 percent, 400 jobs), followed by Fond du Lac, Wisc. (15 percent, 500 jobs) and Walla Walla, Wash. (15 percent, 100 jobs).

Association officials urged Congressional leaders to not leave town until after the election without passing much-needed new coronavirus relief measures. In particular, the construction officials called on Congress to pass new liability protections for firms that are taking steps to protect workers from the coronavirus. They also urged Congressional leaders to boost investments in infrastructure and pass measures designed to preserve payrolls.

“The coronavirus and efforts to mitigate its spread have left our economy deeply wounded, depressing demand for many types of commercial construction projects,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Congress can end the downward economic slide and help create needed new construction jobs by passing measures to boost demand and protect honest employers.”

View the metro employment 12-month , , , and .

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