Tampa Bay's construction industry still among hardest-hit nationwide

Published Jan. 29, 2013

Tampa Bay leads the state in job creation, but construction is sitting out the rebound. The bay area's decimated building industry posted the third-biggest loss in construction jobs over the past year among 337 metro areas, a report released Monday shows.

Tampa Bay is down 3,500 more construction jobs for a 7 percent loss from December 2011 through December 2012, trailing only Atlanta (down 4,900 jobs) and the Portland, Ore., region (down 3,600 jobs), according to the Associated General Contractors of America.

That's in sharp contrast to the broader economy, where Tampa Bay tops all Florida metro areas in adding 21,000 jobs over the past year.

Since peaking at 95,000 jobs during the housing boom in mid 2006, Tampa Bay's construction industry tumbled 54 percent to a low of 44,000 in early 2012. Housing prices have been gradually increasing this past year, but new construction remains soft, leading to an ever-tightening inventory of available homes.

Overall, construction employment this past year increased in 139 metro areas, fell in 131 and was stagnant in 65, the AGC said.