Thursday, May 19, 2011

NYC construction jobs hit 13-year low

Nearly 35,000 jobs shed since peak in late 2008 amid slump in residential and commercial projects; higher education, hospitals and public projects are only ones holding up.

By Marine Cole

Employment in New York City's construction industry slumped to its lowest in nearly 13 years amid the ongoing drought of residential and commercial projects.

The number of jobs in construction fell to 101,200 in the first quarter of 2011, according to a New York Building Congress analysis of New York State Department of Labor employment statistics released Thursday. That is down nearly 26% from the recent peak of 136,000 jobs in the third quarter of 2008. The most recent figure is the lowest recorded since the second quarter of 1998, when employment stood at 99,000.

“The main reason for the decrease is the precipitous drop in private-sector activity, including residential and commercial,” said Richard Anderson, president of the New York Building Congress. “The only bright spot is institutional work led by higher education and hospitals. That work is continuing.” He added that there’s still significant public-sector work, too.

In fact, that public-sector work spurred a small, 1,100-job gain in the heavy construction and civil engineering sector, to a total of 8,500 jobs since the first quarter of 2008. That contrasts with the situation in the specialty trades sector, which includes plumbers and electricians. There, employment stands at 65,800, with 20,000 jobs having been lost over the period.

Any pickup in private construction must wait for more growth in the New York City employment overall. Meanwhile, there are questions as to how long public-sector work will hold up in the face of continuing budget pressure. Last year’s abrupt cancellation of the huge ARC Tunnel project under the Hudson River was a major setback for the industry, and there are fears that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will have to cut back on its huge capital budget as well.

“There could be a trade-off between the two, with a decline in public work and an increase in private work,” Mr. Anderson said, noting that they could balance each other out, or construction employment could continue to fall.

While there are fewer jobs today, the New York Building Congress found that the average wages earned by construction workers are holding steady. Construction workers in the city earned an average of $49,249 in the first nine months of 2010, up from $48,580 for the same period in 2009 and $48,392 during the first nine months of 2008.



  2. Unfortunately, employment in New York City's construction industry slumped to its lowest in nearly 13 years amid the ongoing drought of commercial projects. Therefore, the number of jobs in construction fell. I find it kind of depressing thatNew York Commercial Construction Jobs, and around the country seem to be at a halt. Speaking as a construction worker, I have found that in this economy it can be difficult to find work. Luckily, I was turned onto Dodge Projects from another blog. They honestly are a truly valuable resource. They have detailed job listings, which are sorted by state and by type, so that I can see what jobs are really perfect for me. I definitely recommend them.

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  4. Interesting. I will have to ask around and see if the same thing is happening with construction in Mcdonald, OH. I am thinking that I would like to go into construction.

  5. It is a shame to hear about the drought going on in the NYC construction industry, not unlike many of the other fields/trades that continue to struggle today. It is clearly becoming increasingly difficult for a contractor to stay in business let alone find success in the local industry today.

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  7. Man that is kinda scary.. My older brother, who all he has ever known is construction, is working on finding construction jobs. I hope everything works out for him and anyone else who is looking!

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