While it’s interesting (and depressing, to say the least) to note that more than 136,000 construction workers in California have lost their jobs over the past year, according to a new analysis of October employment data just released by the federal government, the forecast for the nation as a whole within the next decade, in a global sense, is looking a lot better.

First, the “good” news for California: The analysis, conducted by the Associated General Contractors, found that only seven states (Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina and Tennessee) lost a higher percentage of their construction work force than California.

Doesn’t that make you feel better?

But if you take into account that the U.S. will eventually pull out of this construction slump, what are some options for companies right now?

I’ve been hearing lately about a lot of work in China that American companies, especially large architectural and engineering firms, are going after. HMC’s Los Angeles office, for example, just won a competition for the design of a 2 million-sq-ft hospital project in Foshan. HMC had to team up with a regional design firm to enter the contest (in this case, the Shunde Architectural Design Institute), but many architectural firms say that’s actually a blessing, given the time zone and cultural differences.

And within the next decade, it appears that China will push the U.S. into second place as the world’s biggest construction market, according to a new Web-based report called
Global Construction 2020. With its construction sector set to rise at an annual average of 6.3% for the next five years, the U.S. will be among the world’s top 12 fastest-growing markets, but it will lose its preeminent position, according to the report’s 10- year global projections.

Our sister publication, Engineering News-Record, has a story about this report that you have to check out.

A couple of highlights:

* Surprisingly, the fastest rising star that CG2020 identifies is Nigeria. The oil-rich West African state is on course to grow at an annual average of 9.9% until 2014 and 9% for the rest of the decade. India is close behind, set to grow annually by 9.2% over the next decade.

* The construction sectors in Poland, Turkey and China will follow Nigeria and India closely in rate of expansion. They are all expected to expand faster than 8% a year on average.

* By 2020, nearly one-fifth of global construction will in China, up from 13.7% now. The U.S. share is expected to fall fractionally to just under 17%, while India will rank third with Japan at 5.1%.

* India’s rise from a 3.3% global share today reflects the growing construction might of emerging economies as mature markets decline in comparison, says CG2020. The global share of construction handled by today’s top 15 developed markets is set to shrink, claims the report.

These are among findings in the first global projections to look forward as far ahead as a decade, says Graham Robinson, a principal of the consultant Global Construction Perspectives, which did the study. “The whole industry has gone global, yet the amount of intelligence hasn’t caught up,” he claims.