Updated November 27 at 6:26pm

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Construction employment rises slightly in Providence metro


WASHINGTON – Construction employment rose in 125 out of 337 metro areas, including the Providence-Fall River-Warwick area, dropped in 160 out of 337 metro areas, including the New Bedford metro area, and stayed stagnant in 52 metro areas from September 2011 to September 2012, according to a report from the Associated General Contractors of America.

The Providence-Fall River-Warwick area gained 100 construction jobs during the year, a year-over-year gain of 0.5 percent, to 20,200 jobs in the metro area in September, not seasonally adjusted.

The New Bedford metro area lost 100 construction, mining and logging positions during the year, dropping the number of jobs 4.3 percent from 2,300 in September 2011 to 2,200 in September 2012.

According to association officials, construction employment declined in many areas as government or business officials delayed projects in the face of federal tax and funding uncertainty.

“A lot of project owners appear to be taking a time out until Washington officials can set tax rates for next year and figure out what to do about the planned sequestration cuts,” Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, said in prepared remarks. “Few businesses are going to invest in major new projects when they don’t even know what they will be paying in taxes next year or what direction the economy will be heading.”

Simonson added that there will likely be localized spikes in construction employment throughout November and in the winter as crews are mobilized to rebuild the communities ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. “However, the overall impact of reconstruction work on construction employment is likely to be minimal, as planned projects in hurricane-damaged communities are put on hold while people rebuild,” said Simonson.

Statewide, Rhode Island increased its construction employment by 1,000 jobs, or 6 percent year over year, in September. The Ocean State’s construction jobs increased from 16,400 in September 2011 to 17,400 in September 2012.

Statewide, Massachusetts lost 1.4 percent of its construction jobs over the year, dropping from 113,200 jobs in September 2011 to 111,600 in September 2012.

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


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