Three-Fourths of Metros Add Jobs in November; Population Growth Rebounds


Submitted by the AGC

Construction employment, not seasonally adjusted, rose from November 2021 to November 2022 in 258 (75%) of the 358 metro areas (including divisions of larger metros) for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) posts construction employment data, fell in 45 (13%) and was unchanged in 55, according to an analysis AGC released on Wednesday. (BLS reports combined totals for mining, logging, and construction in most metro areas, to avoid disclosing data about industries with few employers. AGC treats the changes as being solely from construction.) Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land again added the most jobs (18,500 construction jobs, 9%), followed by the Dallas-Plano-Irving division (13,500 combined jobs, 9%); Seattle-Bellevue-Everett division (10,400 construction jobs, 10%); and the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale (9,400 construction jobs, 7%). The largest percentage gain occurred Provo-Orem, Utah (23%, 6,400 combined jobs), followed by gains of 15% each in Anchorage, Alaska (1,400 construction jobs), Kankakee, Ill. (200 combined jobs), Grants Pass, Ore. (200 construction jobs) and Providence-Warwick, R.I. (4,000 construction jobs). The largest numerical and percentage losses again occurred in Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (-8,500 construction jobs, -10%) and Richmond, Va. (-3,300 combined jobs, -8%), followed by Camden, N.J. (-1,700 combined jobs, -7%).

U.S. population growth between July 1, 2021 and July 1, 2022 rebounded to 0.38% from a record-low 0.16% in the previous 12 months, but growth was limited to fewer states, the Census Bureau reported on Thursday. Population changes over time are a major contributor to demand for numerous types of construction, funding for public construction, and supply of potential construction workers. Net international migration nearly tripled to 1.01 million, which, “coupled with the largest year-over-year increase in total births since 2007, is behind this increase.” Population increased in 32 states and the District of Columbia, compared to 35 states with increases the previous year. Florida’s population grew by 1.9% (416,754 residents and up from 1.1% in 2021) and was, for “the first time since 1957,…the state with the largest percent increase in population.” Florida had the largest increase in growth rate from 2021 and the second-largest numerical gain, after Texas (470,708, 1.6%, up from 1.1%), an AGC analysis showed. Growth accelerated—another indicator of potential demand for construction—in 26 states and D.C. and slowed in 24 states. Among 18 states with population losses, New York had the largest numerical and percentage declines (-180,341, -0.9%). Idaho had the largest slowdown (from 3.0% to 1.8%) but still had the second-fastest growth rate.

Total construction starts fell 18% from October at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, Dodge Construction Network reported on Monday. Nonresidential building starts plunged 25% (including commercial, -33%; institutional, -12%; and manufacturing, -69%). Nonbuilding starts tumbled 21% (highway and bridge, -32%; utility/gas plants up 3%; environmental public works, -7%; and miscellaneous, -30%). Residential starts fell 5% (single-family, -9%, and multifamily, up 1%).

Housing starts (units) in November dipped 0.5% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate from the October rate and 16% y/y, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday. Single-family starts fell 4.1% for the month and 32% y/y. Multifamily (five or more units) starts climbed 4.8% for the month and 25% y/y. Residential permits slumped 11% for the month and 22% y/y. Single-family permits declined for the ninth-straight month, by 7.1% from October and 30% y/y. Multifamily permits decreased 18% for the month and 11% y/y. There were 915,000 multifamily units under construction in November, the most since 1983, but the drop in permits suggests multifamily construction will shrink once current projects finish.

Two academic studies published this year, discussed in the education newsletter Hechinger Report on September 19, document the value of well-designed career and technical education (CTE), at least in Massachusetts. One study analyzed the earnings of Massachusetts high school students in the first seven years after graduation from either a CTE program or a traditional high school. All 10 CTE programs led to higher earnings each year than what non-CTE students earned. Construction CTE students had the largest increment: $3000 more than traditional grads in the first year and $7700 more after seven years. Another study finds that “the public gains between $56,500 to $113,900 in higher earnings and reduced welfare expenditures for each vocational high school student in Massachusetts. But in Connecticut, the benefits were much smaller—only about $10,000. New Jersey and Delaware run costlier vocational programs and more analysis is needed to see if they are paying off.”

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