Despite a boom in home remodeling, more than half of U.S. major metro areas lost construction jobs in 2020, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGCA) has reported.
Jobs were lost in 191 of 358 areas or 53 percent.
Houston, New York City, and Midland, TX lost the most; Indianapolis, northern Virginia, and Seattle added the most jobs in building.
Private non-residential construction declined 10 percent last year compared to 2019, and government-related building projects have been sliding since March, the AGCA noted.
The new year has begun no better for the building trades.
“A dearth of new construction work is forcing more and more contractors to lay off workers once they complete projects started before the pandemic hit,” lamented Ken Simonson, AGCA’s chief economist, in a statement announcing the year’s results. 
The building trades lost a net 3,000 jobs in January, bringing the deficit to 256,000 fewer workers than a year ago, the AGCA’s latest report shows.
Home builders have regained all of the jobs lost last year; however, nonresidential construction – mostly commercial and government buildings and infrastructure projects – are still 259,000 jobs short of February 2020’s total. 
The construction industry marked a 9.4-percent unemployment rate last month, the AGCA said.
TREND FORECAST: We maintain our forecast for continuing residential construction as long as interest rates remain low… and move lower, and the cheap government money continues to artificially prop up the economy. The commercial sector, however, will continue to decline.

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