News Column

El Paso No. 61 in Construction Job Gains

Jan 9, 2013

Vic Kolenc

El Paso's almost 4 percent gain in construction employment from November 2011 to last November was the 61st-best percentage gain among 337 metro areas in the nation, a new report shows.

El Paso tied with 22 other metro areas for the 61st position, shows the report released Tuesday by the Associated General Contractors of America.

El Paso added an estimated 500 construction jobs in the 12-month period for a total estimated construction work force of 14,100 in November, the association reported. The association used data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to compile the report.

El Paso was one of 126 metro areas where construction employment grew in the 12-month period, the association reported. In that period, 151 metro areas had declines in construction jobs, and 60 had no growth.

"The uncertainty about 2013 federal tax and spending rates likely prompted firms in many parts of the country to hold back on hiring," Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist, said in a written statement.

The best percentage gain in construction jobs among the metro areas, 31 percent, occurred in Pascagoula, Miss. That metro area along the Gulf Coast added an estimated 1,500 jobs.

The Houston metro area's estimated gain of 15,300 construction jobs in the 12-month period was the largest gain in number of construction jobs, the association reported. That translated into a 9 percent gain, which ranked 22nd.

The largest construction job losses were in the New York City area, which the association attributed to halts in construction projects in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in October.

The Long Island, N.Y., metro area (Nassau and Suffolk counties) lost an estimated 6,900 construction jobs, or an 11 percent decline, in the 12-month period.

Construction hiring should improve in the New York area as it rebuilds from hurricane damage, the association reported.

The Las Vegas metro area had the second-most job losses -- a loss of an estimated 5,200 construction jobs, or a 13 percent decline since November 2011.

Source: (c)2013 the El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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