Tampa Bay lost more construction jobs in the past year than any other metro area nationwide except Atlanta, a sharp local reminder that the building business remains an economic laggard despite an improving housing market.
According to the latest monthly report by the Associated General Contractors of America, the bay area lost 6,700, or 12 percent, of its construction jobs from August 2011 to August 2012. Atlanta lost 7,200 construction jobs in the same period.
Tampa Bay's decline counts for nearly two thirds of the 10,400 construction jobs lost statewide in the same period.
If there's a silver lining, it's that the market for construction actually has improved since January. That's when Tampa Bay ranked first nationwide with annual construction job losses of 7,100. Since January, the number of existing area construction jobs has increased from 43,000 to 47,100 by the end of August. That's still fewer than half of the 95,000 construction jobs enjoyed by the Tampa Bay area at the peak of the housing bubble in the summer of 2006.
Nationally, the market for construction jobs is mixed. Construction employment fell in 164 out of 337 metropolitan areas between August 2011 and August 2012, increased in 130 and was stagnant in 43, the general contractors group said. Association officials said that construction employment in many areas was suffering as government and business officials delay projects in the face of federal tax and funding uncertainty.