Make us your home page


Robert Trigaux

Florida continues to shed construction jobs, 38,400 in past year and still counting

Constructionworkerpublixsitewilliejallenjr2008  Wake up and good morning. We know we've been losing construction jobs for years across Tampa Bay and Florida at a prodigious clip. Is there any sign that cascade is easing? A new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America shows continued weak private, state and local demand as well as a lack of long-term projects caused by stalled federal infrastructure bills.

(Photo: A worker takes stock at a 2008 construction site for a two-story Publix in St. Petersburg. By Willie J. Allen Jr.)

And where do Tampa Bay and Florida fit in the construction job squeeze? Statewide, Florida lost 10 percent or 38,400 construction jobs in the past year, May 2009 to May 2010. Only California and Texas shed more construction jobs in the past year, though many states lost more, by percentage, than Florida -- including Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada (losing 23 percent), Oregon and Washington among others.

Here's a breakdown of hits to construction jobs in the past year by the top five (by job loss) Florida metro areas:

Tampa Bay: Lost 6,500, down to 53,500 jobs, down 11 percent. No other Florida metro area lost as many construction jobs in the past year, though other areas lost a greater percentage. Rank out of 337 metro areas nationally: 239.

Fort Lauderdale: Lost 6,000, down to 32,200 jobs, down 16 percent. Rank out of 294 metro areas nationally: 305.

Orlando: Lost 5,800, down to 49,900 jobs, down 10 percent. Rank out of 294 metro areas nationally: 215

West Palm Beach: Lost 5,300, down to 22,600 jobs, down 19 percent. Rank out of 294 metro areas nationally: 322.

Miami: Lost 3,800, down to 34,000 jobs, down 10 percent. Rank out of 294 metro areas nationally: 215.

Here's a look at job losses (and yes, a few gains) in metro areas by state.

And here's a ranking of metro areas nationwide by percentage job loss.

“With current demand soft and chances of a turnaround months away, construction firms are unwilling to expand payrolls,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Contractors know there’s nothing to take up the slack once the stimulus runs its course.”

Imagine what would happen to construction work if the feds turned off the stimulus tap completely.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 11:00am]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours