Construction employment in the city fell to its lowest level in over 10 years according to a report released this morning by the New York Building Congress.
Jobs in the industry fell to 102,600, the industry group said, a three percent decline from a year ago and 20 percent below the peak employment year of 2008.
The figure represents the fewest jobs in construction in the city since 1999.
The construction industry has continued to be battered in the aftermath of the recession as both the real estate market and government budgets have yet to recover enough to bankroll the kind of development and infrastructure spending seen during the boom years. Richard Anderson, president of the Building Congress highlighted the importance of government money in particular.
“Thanks to ongoing City and State capital projects and the injection of federal stimulus money, infrastructure related jobs in heavy construction and civil engineering increased in 2009 and 2010 but are now declining,” Mr. Anderson said in a statement. “While this sector represents just five percent of the industry’s employment, the year-to-year reduction in these jobs is a source of concern as it suggests that private sector firms are laying off workers as a result of decreased government spending.”
The report did predict higher employment by year’s end, in part because companies hire after the winter in the first quarter to prepare for the typical seasonal uptick in construction during warmer months. The report predicted 120,800 jobs by the end of the year, what would be the most positions in the industry since 2008 if it proves accurate.
Wages also rose. Annual earnings on average for construction workers was on track to hit over $70,000, slightly higher than the previous three years.