Despite promising trends in some metropolitan areas, most cities saw a decline in construction jobs over the past year, according to the latest data analyzed by The Associated General Contractors of America (AGCA).
AGCA's analysis of construction job data in 337 major U.S. cities saw a drop in construction hiring between April 2011 and April 2012. According to the group, 157 of the cities studied in the report saw jobs decline, while hiring stayed the same in 60 metropolises. The remaining 120 cities had an increase in construction jobs.
Cities that lost the most jobs include Chicago (6,500 jobs), Tampa (6,200), St. Louis (6,000) and Atlanta (5,400). From a percentage standpoint, the cities of Springfield, Mass.; Lewiston, Idaho and Montgomery, Ala., were the worst offenders.
Some cities were looking up, however. Portland, Seattle and Phoenix all added more than 4,000 jobs during the same time period, while cities like Fargo, N.D., and Bakersfield, Calif., saw double-digit percentage growth.
Much of the slowdown in hiring was due to the decline in public spending on construction jobs, according to the organization. While many states have cut their construction spending, AGCA says new federal projects expected to be approved soon could help the issue significantly.
"As public investments in infrastructure and other forms of construction continue to decline, construction employment is taking a hit in many parts of the country," said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. "Even in places where construction employment is increasing, the figures would have been better if the public sector wasn't holding things back."
Contractors who have projects to work on should make sure they have the right equipment to tackle any product. The online auction site IronPlanet offers a variety of used excavators, backhoe loaders, mixers and more, often at a more affordable price than buying new.