Updated March 25 at 6:26pm

Construction employment drops 10% in Prov. metro in Feb.


WASHINGTON – Construction employment declined in 132 of 339 metro areas, – including the Providence-Fall River-Warwick area – rose in 158 out of 339 metro areas and stayed stagnant in 49 metro areas – including the New Bedford area – from February 2012 to February 2013, according to a report from the Associated General Contractors of America.

The Providence metro area lost 1,700 construction jobs in February, a year-over-year loss of 10 percent, to 15,400 jobs, not seasonally adjusted. The drop earned the Providence metro area the No. 318 rank out of the 339 metro areas for construction job growth.

The New Bedford metro area’s construction, mining and logging job count was unchanged year over year in February at 1,900.

“While construction employment continues to decline in many parts of the country, the number of communities experiencing gains continues to expand,” Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, said in prepared remarks, adding that, “The twin threats of additional public sector construction cuts and a looming shortage of certain types of construction workers could hurt the industry just as it is beginning to recover.”

Statewide, Rhode Island lost 1,600 construction jobs, or 12 percent year over year, in February. Meanwhile, Massachusetts saw a 3 percent employment increase in construction jobs over the year in February.

“Between the dismantling of skills-based, vocational, education programs, the aging of the current workforce and years of bad economic news that have discouraged potential entrants from considering careers in construction, the pool of available skilled workers is relatively small,” Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s, CEO said in a statement.

“This industry could go from having too little work to having too few workers. Thus, it is critical for comprehensive immigration reform to include reasonable options to recruit temporary guest workers when domestic sources are exhausted,” added Sandherr.

For the full Associated General Contractors of America report, visit www.agc.org.


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