New Data Shows St. Louis Has Nation’s Biggest Decline in Construction Jobs

By on January 4, 2019

From St. Louis Business Journal:  St. Louis lost 4,500 construction jobs in 2018, marking the biggest year-over-year decline of 358 U.S. metro areas, according to an analysis by industry group Associated General Contractors of America.

The job losses equal a 7 percent drop from November 2017 to November 2018 for the bi-state region. Baltimore’s loss of 3,000 jobs (4 percent) and Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean, New Jersey’s 2,400 jobs (6 percent) followed, the AGC report showed.

The Associated General Contractors of America reviewed U.S. Department of Labor data for 358 U.S. metro areas and found that job openings totaled 292,000 at the end of October, a spike of 25 percent, or 59,000, year-over year. It was the highest total for any October in the 18 years that the labor department has published the data.

Conversely, November saw 375,000 unemployed jobseekers — the lowest yet for the month — suggesting that general contractors across the country are having trouble filling vacancies.

That’s the case for many St. Louis-area companies, including construction firm Tarlton Corp., which had to “throttle down” some of its work on a project due to challenges with the workforce shortage, said COO and Executive Vice President Dirk Elsperman.

“As we saw in the Great Recession, people will leave our industry if there are not any jobs. We are feeling that now,” said Elsperman, who will be appointed president of AGC of America in April. “It’s hard to tell from the (report) if the decrease is demographically driven, economically driven or climatologically driven (We had our worst November weather-wise in recent memory). My suspicion is that it’s a little bit of all three.”

Read more.

 

About Dede Hance