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Construction employment increased in 224 out of 358 metro areas between March 2016 and March 2017, declined in 92 and stagnated in 42, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that a recent proposal by the Trump administration to reform the tax code for businesses, including pass-through entities, should help boost demand for new construction and make it easier for firms to expand payrolls in the future

“Reforming the tax code should help boost demand for construction by freeing up significant amounts of private sector capital to finance new projects,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Moreover, reducing the tax burden on construction employers will make it easier for them to add new staff to keep up with growing demand for their services.”

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (12,200 jobs, 14 percent) added the most construction jobs during the past year, followed by Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga. (9,400 jobs, 8 percent); Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (8,600 jobs, 13 percent); Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. (6,300 jobs, 11 percent) and Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (6,000 jobs, 5 percent). The largest percentage gains occurred in the Lewiston, Idaho-Wash. metro area (25 percent, 300 jobs); Lake Charles, La. (21 percent, 4,000 jobs); Redding, Calif. (19 percent, 500 jobs); Gary, Ind. (17 percent and 2,400 jobs) and Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif. (17 percent, 700 jobs).

The largest job losses from March 2016 to March 2017 were in Pittsburgh, Pa. (-2,900 jobs, -6 percent), followed by Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass. (-2,300 jobs, -4 percent); Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean, N.J. (-2,100 jobs, -6 percent) and Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Miss. (-1,800 jobs, -19 percent). The largest percentage decreases for the year were in Danville, Ill. (-20 percent, -100 jobs); Casper, Wyo. (-19 percent, -600 jobs); Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Miss. and Charleston, W.V. (-17 percent, -1,300 jobs).

Association officials said the Trump administration’s new proposed tax reform principles that were released last week could help boost demand for construction and employment in the sector. The association has long called for reforms not just to the corporate tax rate, but also to the rate pass-through entities, including the majority of construction firms, pay. The Trump administration’s proposal to cut the rate all businesses pay will help free up private-sector capital for new construction projects, and provide firms with additional resources they need to expand payrolls, the officials added.

“While there are a lot of questions that need to be answered, the President has initiated what should be a robust and productive debate about the best way to reform our dated tax code,” Sandherr said. “As an industry that pays among the highest effective tax rates in the country, the construction sector welcomes any effort to make taxes on employers more equitable and more reasonable.”

View the metro employment data by rank and by state. View metro employment map.

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