Which Way in the Southwest?

Which way is construction headed in the Southwest and what can the Laborers do to help? From the valley of 2011, construction employment has been on the rise. In 2013 it was up more than 12% over the lows of 2011 in the three states that LECET Southwest monitors (CA, AZ, NM). However, according to employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), that number doesn’t tell the whole story.

California construction employment was up almost 14% in 2013 from that state’s low water mark and is up another 4.3% through the first five months of 2014. On the other end of the spectrum, New Mexico took longer to hit bottom (2012), showed only a 2% gain in 2013, but has given all of it back so far in 2014. Meanwhile, Arizona is somewhere in between. The Grand Canyon State has regained more than 11% of the construction jobs that were lost, but 2014 has slowed with a less than 1% improvement over 2013.

One thing that all three of these states have in common is that they all have a long way to go to match the heights of 2006. BLS data for 2014 reveals that California is off nearly 29%, New Mexico is more than 30% lower, and Arizona is still an astonishing 48% below the employment payrolls of 2006. These losses and gains are reflected in the Laborers’ man-hours as well.

As construction continues its mixed-review recovery, forecast reports from McGraw-Hill Construction and state economic departments anticipate positive trends through the rest of the decade. Much of that appears to be driven by the rebound of the residential markets. However, the federal government’s inability to institute long-term reauthorization of the Highway Trust Fund could dampen this optimistic outlook.

While LECET Southwest may not be able to control which direction the construction industry is headed, we can help contractors find their next project. With the LECET Business Advantage program, LECET Southwest can monitor upcoming project information and deliver it directly to a contractor based on that company’s individual preferences. On a weekly basis, the LECET Business Advantage program will filter projects by location, value and type to send you only the information you want.

The best part of the LECET Business Advantage program is that it is provided at no cost to LIUNA-signatory contractors. Simply fill out an application, get approved and start receiving valuable project information straight to your email in-box. Enroll today.