AGC: Stimulus has been overshadowed by weak demand

U.S. construction employment grows in only four of 337 cities.

U.S. construction employment grew in only four out of 337 metropolitan areas in 2009 says a new report by the Associated General Contractors of America.

It occurred as spending on construction projects dropped by $100 billion in December, to a six-year low of $903 billion.

The four cities were: Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa. (1,500 jobs), Tulsa, Okla. (700 jobs), Springfield, Ohio and Columbus, Ind. (100 jobs each).

“The impact of the stimulus is clearly being overshadowed by the sweeping downturn in overall construction demand,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Without those public investments however, a bad employment situation will only get worse during 2010.”

Simonson noted new figures show that private non-residential spending dropped 18 per cent compared to December 2008.

Only power construction increased from year-ago levels, by 14 per cent. Declines were seen in lodging (46 per cent); retail, warehouse and farm (37 per cent); and office (35 per cent).

However, publicly-funded construction increased by 1.0 per cent between December 2008 and 2009.

Source: The Journal of Commerce