Indiana construction employment declines outside Indianapolis: AGC report

agc jobs construction
The AGC's metro employment area map for 2016 construction jobs

Outside of metropolitan Indianapolis, Indiana’s overall construction employment levels declined last year, according to federal employment data gathered by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

The Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson area recorded a six percent increase in jobs to 48,000 from 45,400, ranking the area as the 42nd fastest growing community in the US for jobs.

However, the bi-state area of Louisville/Jefferson County (KY-IN) recorded an eight percent decline (including mining and logging as well as construction), declining from 30,000 jobs to 27,700, putting it at 337, one of the biggest drops in the country. (Near the bottom, Wichita, KS reported a 13 percent decline of construction, mining and logging jobs, declining to 14,600 from 16,700 — giving it a rank of 356.)

Overall Indiana data includes:
Statewide Construction: 129,200 128,800 -0.3% -400
Statewide Const. (including mining, logging) 135,600 134,900 -1% -700
Bloomington, IN Const, mining, logging 2,700 2,700 0% 0 184
Columbus, IN Const, mining, logging 1,700 1,700 0% 0 184
Elkhart-Goshen, IN Const, mining, logging 3,000 3,000 0% 0 184
Evansville, IN-KY Const, mining, logging 11,000 10,800 -2% -200 267
Fort Wayne, IN Const, mining, logging 10,100 9,700 -4% -400 300
Gary, IN Div. Construction 15,300 15,100 -1% -200 251
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN Construction 45,400 48,000 6% 2,600 42
Kokomo, IN Const, mining, logging 1,100 1,100 0% 0 184
Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN Const, mining, logging 3,600 3,800 6% 200 42
Michigan City-La Porte, IN Const, mining, logging 1,800 1,800 0% 0 184
Muncie, IN Const, mining, logging 1,400 1,400 0% 0 184
South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI Const, mining, logging 4,800 5,000 4% 200 70
Terre Haute, IN Const, mining, logging 3,800 3,700 -3% -100 284
Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN Const, mining, logging 43,000 44,500 3% 1,500 95
Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN Const, mining, logging 30,000 27,700 -8% -2,300 337


Nationwide, AGC reports that construction employment declined in 110 out of 358 metro areas between December 2015 and December 2016, was stagnant in another 65 and increased in 183. Association officials noted that the disappointing new jobs data coincides with data showing a drop in most infrastructure spending in 2016 and comes out as a broad coalition of business, labor and transportation interests from across the country urged President Trump to deliver on his promise to rebuild the country’s aging infrastructure.

“There are two main reasons so few areas added construction jobs last year—they couldn’t find enough new workers to hire or they couldn’t find enough work to require new hiring,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “In some markets, the solution is more workforce development measures, while other markets need new demand for construction before firms will begin adding jobs. In particular, spending on critical transportation, sewage and water infrastructure declined last year.”

The largest job losses from December 2015 to December 2016 were in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX (-11,200 jobs, -5 percent), followed by Orange-Rockland-Westchester, NY. (-5,500 jobs, -12 percent); and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA. (-5,200 jobs, -4 percent). The largest percentage declines for the past year were in Kankakee, IL. (-15 percent, -200 jobs); Casper, WY. (-13 percent, -400 jobs) and Wichita, KS (-13 percent, -2,100 jobs).

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO. (10,400 jobs, 11 percent) added the most construction jobs during the past year, followed by Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL. (9,700 jobs, 15 percent); Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV. (8,700 jobs, 16 percent) and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL. (8,700 jobs, 13 percent). The largest percentage gains occurred in Boise City, ID (18 percent, 3,400 jobs), followed by El Centro, CA. (17 percent, 500 jobs); Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford. The number of metro areas with year-over-year job increases—183, or 51 percent—was the lowest since September 2012, the economist noted.

Among major infrastructure categories, public spending fell 18 percent over the year for sewage and waste disposal systems; 5.3 percent for transportation facilities such as transit, airports and passenger rail; and 0.9 percent for water supply. Highway and street construction posted a modest increase of 1.5 percent.

Association officials said the new metro construction employment data comes out as hundreds of employers from across the country are urging President Trump to deliver on his promise to invest in rebuilding the nation’s aging infrastructure. In particularly, the firms noted that aging and congested transportation networks are affecting their bottom line and undermining their ability to add jobs.

“The business community is counting on President Trump to act on his pledge to rebuild our aging infrastructure,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “The fact is, employers can’t compete and succeed if their workers are stuck in traffic and their products are being rerouted around unsafe bridges and crumbling roads.”

View the metro employment data by rank and state. View metro employment map.


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