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Construction employment picking up across most of state

Apprentice carpenter Paul Heldman (left) and lead carpenter Dean Spielvogel of Brillo Home Improvements Inc., Milwaukee, prepare to level and install some railing during a project to replace roof, gutter and railing at 98th Street and Colonial Drive in Milwaukee. Construction employment is on the rise in most Wisconsin cities compared to year-ago levels. (Photo by David La Haye)

Apprentice carpenter Paul Heldman (left) and lead carpenter Dean Spielvogel of Brillo Home Improvements Inc., Milwaukee, prepare to level and install some railing during a project to replace roof, gutter and railing at 98th Street and Colonial Drive in Milwaukee. Construction employment is on the rise in most Wisconsin cities compared to year-ago levels. (Photo by David La Haye)

Construction employment expanded in 56 out of 337 metropolitan areas between August 2009 and August 2010, according to a new analysis of federal employment data by the Associated General Contractors of America.

More cities added construction jobs during the past year than at any point since September 2008, according to the report.

AGC chief economist Ken Simonson noted that Kansas City, Kan., added more construction jobs (2,500 jobs, 13 percent) than any other metro area. Locally, Wisconsin had nine areas rank in the top 25 of construction employment gains, led by Eau Claire, which added 600 jobs (19 percent) and ranked second among 337 nationwide areas.

The Chicago–Joliet–Naperville area lost more construction jobs (22,600 jobs, 16 percent) than any other metro area, even after a construction strike ended in July.

AGC officials said that even as the employment outlook improves in a growing number of metropolitan areas, construction unemployment remains nearly double the national average.

View construction employment figures by metro area or by rank.

Does this data signal a turnaround in construction hiring? Sound off in The Daily Reporter’s CONSTRUCTION FORUM.

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