Metro Phoenix Posts Biggest Drop In Construction Jobs In U.S.

By Kristena Hansen
Published: Monday, September 1, 2014 - 8:50am
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Construction employment across the Phoenix area plunged by 4,800 jobs in July compared with a year ago, which was the biggest decline of any other market in the U.S., according to new federal data.

The drop accounted for a 5 percent decline in the sector's overall workforce. It was also the third consecutive month of declines for the Valley, a notable shift from last year when employment improved at a steady pace.

Even so, the recent downtrend highlights just how slow and choppy the recovery has been. In fact, of the 106,000 construction jobs the Valley lost during the downturn, only 11 percent have been recovered so far.

The reason things have been so rocky has to do with how poorly the home building market has been performing this year, said Elliott Pollack, an economist at Scottsdale-based Elliott D. Pollack & Co. 

“You won’t get big increases in construction until housing comes back," Pollack said. "The timing of that is uncertain, and there’s several reasons for that.”

Also, considering all the empty shopping centers and office buildings that are still lying around the Valley, don’t expect a meaningful boost in commercial construction either any time soon, Pollack said.

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