Lexington, most of state see construction job gains over February 2020
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Three-fourths of all metro areas, including Lexington and every other area in Kentucky except Evansville, added construction jobs between July 2020 and last month, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government employment data.
Association officials noted that while many metro areas have added jobs since last summer, construction employment still lags pre-pandemic levels in many areas as the industry faces a host of challenges.
“The rapid spread of the delta variant of coronavirus, along with soaring materials costs and multiple supply-chain difficulties, appears to be causing some project owners to delay starting construction,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “However, the virus flare-up threatens further job gains, particularly because construction workers have a lower vaccination rate and thus a higher risk of becoming ill than other occupations.”
Construction employment increased in 268 out of 358 metro areas over the last 12 months (Metro Empl 2021_July_V17_Alpha).
Statewide, Kentucky saw construction employment rise from 75,400 in February 2020 to 84,100 in July 2021 and employment in mining, logging and construction rise from 83,800 to 91,300. In Lexington, the numbers grew from 13,300 to 14,100, an increase of 6 percent.
The largest number increases were in the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky area where the industry group added 2,500 jobs and Huntington-Ashland which added 1,100 jobs.
Construction employment declined from a year earlier in 54 metros and held steady in 36. Among those was Evansville, Ind.-Ky. which lost 1,100 construction jobs.
Association officials urged federal officials to take steps to address supply-chain woes and boost demand for many types of construction services.
They continued to call for the removal of tariffs on a host of critical construction materials, including steel and aluminum.
And they urged the House of Representatives to quickly pass bipartisan infrastructure legislation that would give a needed boost to construction demand at a time when many private sector owners are rethinking projects amid rising prices and the spiking coronavirus cases.
“Washington officials have the ability to help offset soaring materials prices and boost flagging demand for commercial construction,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “The president should put an immediate end to tariffs that are needlessly inflating the cost of key materials and members of the House should rapidly approve the bipartisan infrastructure bill.”