Northwest Arkansas construction employment jumps 6%

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 119 views 

Construction employment increased in 264 out of 358 metro areas in the U.S. between June 2016 and June 2017, and that includes Northwest Arkansas.

According to a new analysis of federal employment data released Aug. 2 by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGCA), the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers metropolitan statistical area (MSA) added 600 construction jobs in the 12-month period up to 11,200, an increase of 6%. That ranked No. 118 among U.S. metro areas.

In the Fort Smith metro, there were 300 lost jobs in the construction sector in the 12-month period down to 5,400, a loss of 5%. That ranked No. 338.

The Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway MSA reported 500 lost jobs down to 17,100, a loss of 3%. That ranked No. 319.

Statewide, employment numbers were essentially unchanged from last year at 57,700 jobs.

“Arkansas’ construction community continues to be robust, particularly in the northwest portion of our state with the ongoing addition to construction jobs in that area,” J. Kelly Robbins, the executive vice president of AGC Arkansas, said in a statement. “With record low unemployment numbers, Natural State contractors are hampered by a limited workforce.”

AGCA officials noted that inconsistent metro area job growth was coupled with declining construction spending figures. Construction spending in June totaled $1.206 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, according to the AGCA, a drop of 1.3% from the downwardly revised May total, and up just 1.6% from a year earlier.

Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, said every public spending category recorded a decrease for the month and nearly all were lower than a year ago, while multifamily construction and several private nonresidential categories also declined or had smaller increases than previously.

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