The Baton Rouge Area Is The Fourth Best In The Nation For Construction Jobs Gain

The large number of construction projects in the Baton Rouge area are doing more than just changing the face of the region, they’re also adding jobs. And, according to data from the Associated General Contractors of America, they’re adding quite a large number of jobs.

The large number of construction projects in the Baton Rouge area are doing more than just changing the face of the region–they’re also adding jobs. And, according to data from the Associated General Contractors of America, they’re adding quite a large number of jobs.

In a news release published at the end of July, the association said that between June 2013 and June 2014, construction employment expanded in 215 metro areas across the nation. It declined in 80 and was stagnant in 44.

Baton Rouge was one of the nation’s top areas for construction job gains. In June 2014, the metro had 50,800 construction jobs. It registered an increase of 13 percent from the year before, adding 5,900 jobs. This represents the fourth largest gain in the United States.

The top three areas in the nation for construction job gains are Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (11,700 jobs, 10 percent),  Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (10,000 jobs, 9 percent), and Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. (8,200 jobs, 7 percent). Meanwhile, the largest job losses from June 2013 to June 2014 were registered in Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, Md. (-4,200 jobs, -13%), Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz. (-2,900 jobs, -3 percent), Gary, Ind. (-2,300 jobs, -12%), and Putnam-Rockland-Westchester, N.Y. (-1,800 jobs, -6 percent).

“Contractors have been expanding their work force in about two-thirds of the country for several months in a row,” Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, said in a statement for the press. “Some metro areas are adding workers at a strong clip, but the gains remain modest and sporadic in many localities.”

The state of Louisiana saw a 4 percent increase in construction jobs over the past year. Ranking by percentage increase, the Baton Rouge area was the 18th in the United States. However, the Lake Charles area, in western Louisiana, occupied second place in this category. It registered an increase of 25 percent between June 2013 and June 2014, adding 2,700 new construction jobs.

Other areas in the state also added construction jobs over the past year. The Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux area added 500 jobs, an increase of 5 percent. Lafayette added 100 jobs and New Orleans-Metairie-Kenne added 200, both areas registering an increase of 1 percent. The Shreveport-Bossier City remained stagnant.

Association officials said the uncertainty about a range of federal infrastructure and construction programs could affect future construction employment growth. The also urged Congress to quickly pass a “continuing resolution.” It would set federal spending levels for next year and enact long-term surface transportation legislation, making it easier for construction firms to to make hiring, purchasing and expansion plans.

“Even as the overall economy continues to recover, many firms that work on federally-funded projects are having a hard time making hiring, equipment purchasing and expansion plans,” Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America, added. “It is hard to make sound business decisions when you don’t know how much work will be available in the near future.”