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Construction Employment in Pittsburgh Grew in 2013, but Fell Overall for Pennsylvania

A report analyzing data from the Department of Labor posted on the Associated General Contractors of America’s website indicates that while construction employment for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania fell by 3% in 2013, construction employment for the Pittsburgh region increased by a slight margin of 0.4%.

According to the figures in the report, which is available here, statewide construction employment in Pennsylvania dropped from 225,000 jobs in December 2012 to 217,800 in December 2013.  However, despite this overall loss of 7,200 jobs in the Pennsylvania construction industry during the 2013 calendar year, the data shows that the Pittsburgh region actually added 200 construction jobs, increasing its overall number of jobs 52,900 to 53,100 over that same time period.

Perhaps even more encouraging than the data about the Pittsburgh region, is the data from the neighboring Steubenville-Weirton, Ohio-WV region which topped the list in terms of percentage of growth, posting a growth of 31%.  However, because Steubenville is a relatively small market, its 31% growth represents an addition of only 500 construction related jobs – a number equal to the total jobs added by Pittsburgh’s neighboring market to the north in Erie.

Overall, the jobs data remains promising, with construction employment growing in 192 metro areas, remaining static in another 63, and declining in 84.  The Associated General Contractors of America’s chief economist, Ken Simonson, attributed much of the growth to the increased demand for apartment and single family housing, noting that private residential construction spending increased by 18% in 2013, while public sector spending decreased by 1% over the same time period.  Mr. Simonson remained even more optimistic about the future, stating that an unusually cold or snowy December in many regions may have artificially held employment data down, and with the weather and economy both likely to improve soon, even more areas should post employment gains in the coming months.  The Associated General Contractors of America’s press release, including quotes from Mr. Simonson, is available here.

Babst Calland will continue to monitor the construction industry economic reports, so please check back often for updates.