Houston area added most construction jobs in last year

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 26, 2011 1:44 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Houston area has added the most construction jobs in the last year while Southern California is the biggest loser in a stagnant jobs market, an industry association said on Monday.

The analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America comes as Texas Governor Rick Perry touts the state's job growth in seeking the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

The metropolitan area of Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas, was the top U.S. construction jobs gainer from August 2010 to August 2011, adding 10,400 posts or a 6 percent rise, the association said in a statement.

Lake County-Kenosha County, north of Chicago straddling the Illinois-Wisconsin border, was the biggest percentage winner, adding 2,900 jobs for a 22 percent rise, it said in an analysis of federal employment numbers.

The largest losses were in California's Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale area, with a drop of 7,000 jobs, or 7 percent. Redding, California, was the worst percentage performer, losing 600 jobs in a 19 percent drop.

Construction employment rose in 146 of 337 metro areas. It dropped in 145 areas and stayed level in 46.

"Construction employment continues to be stuck in a pattern where there are just as many hot spots as there are slow spots," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist.

Association spokesman Brian Turmail said U.S. construction jobs overall rose by 4,000 to 5.524 million in a "stagnant" market.

Private sector spending on construction has grown by 5.5 percent since July 2010 while public sector demand fell by 8.8 percent, the association said.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Greg McCune)