A recent analysis of federal employment data indicates that the construction industry continues to hum along, but future gains depend largely on overall economic growth and new investment in our aging infrastrcuture.

The survey, conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America, showed that construction employment expanded in 211 metro areas nationwide, declined in 67 areas and remained the same in 61 areas.

The biggest gainer was the Fargo, N.D. area, where construction employment increased 24 percent (about 1,900 jobs) between November 2012 and November 2013. (No reason was given for the increase.) The biggest loser on a percentage basis was Modesto, Calif., which experienced a 24 percent decline, or 1,500 jobs.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington area saw an 8 percent increase, totalling 5,100 construction jobs in the period.

Steven Sandherr, AGC's chief executive officer said in a statement that, despite an expansion of jobs in many areas of the country, "it will take many more months of strong economic growth and new investments in public infrastrcuture before many places experience construction employment levels close to their prior peaks."

Janet Moore covers commercial real estate for the Star Tribune.

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