Charleston construction jobs rise in November; Columbia, Greenville slip

Staff Report
Published Jan. 2, 2014

Construction employment expanded in the Charleston metro area but slipped in Columbia and Greenville, according to an analysis of November employment data by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Meanwhile, statewide construction industry employment rose 6% between November 2012 and November 2013, the association said.

The employment gains were encouraging, the trade group said, but it cautioned that future gains were dependent on continued economic growth and new investments in aging domestic infrastructure.

“Most areas have a long way to go before reaching prior peak levels,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s CEO. “It will take many more months of strong economic growth and new investments in public infrastructure, before many places experience construction employment levels close to their prior peaks.”

November construction employment in the Charleston metro area, which includes North Charleston and Summerville, rose by 3% to 14,100 workers in a year-over-year comparison, the association said.

However, construction employment for the 12-month period was down 1% to 14,200 workers in the Columbia area and down 3% to 11,100 workers in the Greenville area, the association reported.

In communities adjacent to South Carolina, construction employment for the yearlong stretch was flat in the Augusta-North Augusta area and up 10% in the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill area.

Statewide, construction industry employment rose by 4,700 workers to 87,100 between November 2012 and November 2013.

Association officials said the fact Congress was able to reach a budget deal late in 2013 was a sign that elected officials can work together to protect economic growth. The challenge now is finding a way to finance needed investments in aging roads, bridges, clean water systems and other infrastructure systems.

“Congress and the administration need to continue working together to find a way to boost economic growth and rebuild our aging infrastructure,” Sandherr said. "Only by working together will Washington officials be able to help our economy grow and construction employment expand in 2014."

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