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Local construction employment dips slightly, up from a year ago

Local construction employment dipped slightly in November, but is still higher than it was during the last two years, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The San Diego region reported 57,600 construction jobs last month, 200 fewer than October, and the same amount as in June of this year.

“Local numbers are not seasonally adjusted so the slowdown probably has to do with the time of the year,” said Marney Cox, chief economist for the San Diego Association of Governments. “Two hundred jobs [lost] isn’t that significant when looking month to month.”

When compared to the last couple of years, there were 3,000 fewer construction workers in November 2011 and 3,200 fewer in November 2010.

“Looking year to year is a better indicator of where things are,” Cox said. “We need to add about 10 percent so we can be at [levels] before the recession.”

So far this year, August saw the highest number of construction employees with 58,500 workers. The average this year for any given month has been 56,190 employees.

Cox added that the three areas of strength in the local construction industry right now are multifamily residential, displayed with the growing number of permits pulled; infrastructure projects like roads and public transportation expansions, because of TransNet funds; and home remodeling, because interest rates are low.

When looking at the months of November over the last 10 years, construction jobs peaked in 2005 and 2006 with 91,600 workers, and the lowest number of construction staffers came in 2010 at 54,400 workers.

The month that had the most construction employees over the last 10 years was June 2006, with 95,100 workers locally. January saw the lowest number at 52,900 workers.

Two of the other three Southern California metro areas showed similar trends to San Diego, while the Los Angeles region showed gains all around.

In the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metro area, there were 59,100 workers last month, 400 fewer than in October, but 500 more than in November 2011.

The Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine metro area reported 70,000 construction employees in November, a reduction of 400 workers from the previous month, but 2,400 more workers than a year ago.

There was an increase of 1,200 workers last month from October in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale metro area. There were also 2,000 more construction employees in November of this year than in November of last year.

Across California, there were 586,900 construction jobs last month, 5,200 less than in October but 25,100 more workers than last year.

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