Despite a surprising widespread increase in construction employment from May to June, construction employment still decreased in 62% of 358 metros analyzed between June 2019 and June 2020, according to analysis of government data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).
"It's troubling to see construction employment lagging year-ago levels in most locations, in spite of a strong rebound in May and June," AGC chief economist Ken Simonson said in a news release. "Those gains were not enough to erase the huge losses in March and April. Many indicators since the employment data were collected in mid-June suggest construction employment will soon decline, or stagnate at best, in much of the country."
Construction employment increased in 92% of surveyed metros from April to May, though at the time the AGC cautioned that the recovery in construction employment may be short-lived as numerous firms reported future projects continue to be postponed or canceled. According to the AGC's analysis, construction employment increased in 96 metro areas and stagnated in 39 metro areas over the past 12 months. Eighteen metro areas have reached all-time lows in June construction employment, while 28 metros have reach record highs for industry employment in June.
Over the past 12 months, New York City lost the most construction jobs despite having the largest pure number gains from May to June. Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, Mass., experienced the largest percentage decline in industry employment on a year-over-year (YOY) basis. Austin-Round Rock, Texas added the most construction jobs on a YOY basis and Walla Walla, Wash., experienced the highest percent increase.
On a month-to-month basis, 291 metro areas added construction between May and June. New York City added the most construction jobs in pure numbers while Monroe, Mich., experienced the largest percentage increase in the past month. New Orleans-Metairie, La., lost the most jobs in pure numbers while Yuba City, Calif., shed the largest percentage of construction jobs between May and June. June historically has been a month where construction employment increases in the majority of metro areas as summer construction reaches its peak.