Published March 26, 2014
Construction employment expanded in South Carolina’s three major metro areas between January 2013 and January 2014, according to an analysis of federal employment data by the Associated General Contractors of America.
The Columbia metro area led the state with 3% increase in construction jobs, the report said. About 14,700 workers were on the job in January compared with 14,300 for the same month in 2013.
Meanwhile, the Greenville area recorded a 2% increase in construction jobs to 11,600 in January, up from 11,400 for the same month in 2013.
The Charleston metro area saw the number of construction jobs rise by 200 to 14,300, a 1% increase over the 14,100 recorded in January 2013.
Statewide, construction employment rose 3% to 83,500 positions. The study includes jobs in construction, as well as logging and mining.
In metro markets on the state’s borders, the number of construction jobs climbed 7% to 41,600 positions in the Charlotte area, which includes Rock Hill. The Augusta market, which includes Aiken County, recorded a 4% increase to 10,800 jobs.
Overall, the latest figures were a sign that construction employment is rebounding, association officials said.
They added that many contractors across the country were worried about a possible slowdown in federally funded transportation projects this summer when the federal Highway Trust Fund is expected to hit a zero balance.
As a result, dozens of member firms had already requested over 5,000 “Hardhats for Highways” stickers as part of a campaign being organized by the Transportation Construction Coalition.
“The industry is slowly digging itself out of a construction employment hole that got pretty deep during the past few years,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s CEO. “If Congress and the Obama administration can't figure out a way to address highway funding shortfalls very soon, that hole is only going to get deeper.”