US construction employment increases; federal cuts dampen outlook

29 March 2013 18:15  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US construction employment in February had its largest one-month gain in almost six years, but recent federal budget cuts could reverse the pickup in some states, a trade group said on Friday.

The construction industry added 48,000 jobs in February from January, said the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

Construction employment expanded in 35 states, with the top three being Alaska, Hawaii and Texas. Jobs remained steady in three states but declined in 12 others and in Washington DC.

“The turnaround in construction hiring that began in a few states two years ago has now spread to most of the country,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist at the AGC. “There are strong indications that the expansion will continue for residential and private nonresidential construction, but investment in infrastructure and public buildings is likely to shrink further.”

Despite optimistic figures, the AGC said states with large military and federal civilian facilities could face a downturn in public construction.

“With the nation’s infrastructure having just received a near-failing grade from civil engineers, this is no time to be reducing federal investment in needed transportation, water systems and environmental structures,” said Stephen Sandherr, CEO of the AGC.

“Such underinvestment will cost construction workers and firms now but will be even more costly to the nation’s competitiveness and quality of life over time,” he added.

By: Tracy Dang
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