From Nov. 2018 to Nov. 2019, construction spending rose in nearly two-thirds of metropolitan areas, including by 4% in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood statistical area.
“It’s likely that even more metros would have added workers recently if unemployment weren’t at record lows in many areas,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America. The group, which advocates for the construction industry, analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Of seven Colorado metro areas that the group tallied, Pueblo and Greeley both saw jobs in the mining, logging and construction industries increase by 6% over the past year. Colorado Springs grew by 5% and Grand Junction was the only area to experience zero growth.
Colorado’s unemployment rate, at 2.6%, is nearly a full percentage point lower than the national average. The mining and logging industries, which the state separates from construction, experienced recent declines in employment for the first time since 2017.
Nationally, construction spending rose 4.1% in the past year. New York City experienced the largest decline in construction jobs, with 6,900 fewer than the prior year.
In a survey of 48 contractors in Colorado, GCA found that half of respondents expect to hire between one and 10 additional employees in 2020. Nearly 90% said they are having a hard time finding qualified workers.