When it comes to the topic of construction jobs in Arizona, there is good news and bad news.
The good news is that jobs have rebounded from the depths of the recession by nearly 20,000 jobs or so. The bad news, though, is that the 123,000 or so workers employed by the construction industry in November 2013 are about the same amount as worked in the industry in 1995, according to data released today by the Arizona Department of Administration.
According to the data, total construction employment in January 2013 was 116,600 which included 76,100 in specialty trades. In November 2013, total construction employment was estimated to be 124,400 — a gain of nearly 8,000 jobs. Specialty trade employment rose to 85,300, a gain of slightly more than 9,000 jobs.
In May 1995, 123,300 worked in the construction industry in Arizona, with 81,800 working for specialty contracting firms. At the height of the boom in June 2006, 247,500 were employed by the construction industry and 168,300 were in specialty contracting.
The post-recession construction employment high came in July 2013 with total construction employment topping out at 127,100.
According to the ENR Southwest Outlook we completed in October, experts across the Southwest expect growth to steadily grow again in 2014.
But the tarnish on the silver lining might be that according to the American Institute of Architects, billings in the West were flat in November ending with a 50.2 rating. The ABI reflects the approximate nine to 12 month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The AIA’s national November ABI score was 49.8, down from a mark of 51.6 in October. This score reflects a slight decrease in design services — any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings. The new projects inquiry index was 57.8, down from the reading of 61.5 the previous month.