By Peter Marcus, DENVER DAILY NEWS
Colorado is among the top five states for construction employment declines over the past year, with a decline of 11.5 percent, or about 14,200 jobs, according to a report released Friday by the Associated General Contractors of America.
Despite an expected $500 million in economic stimulus projects, some of which are already taking place, Colorado ranks fourth in the nation for percentage decline in construction jobs.
Nevada experienced the largest percentage decline at 19.3 percent, followed by Vermont at 14.1 percent, Idaho at 12.3 percent, Colorado at 11.5 percent, and Kentucky at 9.8 percent, according to the AGC of America report.
The construction industry in Colorado had been hopeful that state legislation, the 2009 Funding Advancement for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery Act (FASTER), would have given them a bigger boost, along with funding from the $814 billion economic stimulus project. But despite the state and federal government’s best efforts, construction employment in Colorado continued to decline.
That being said, Tony Milo, executive director of the Colorado Contractors Association, has said that without the stimulus and FASTER projects, Colorado would have lost many more construction industry jobs.
There are 123 stimulus projects under construction or near construction in Colorado, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. Forty-three projects have already been completed, 127 projects are under construction and 128 projects have gone to advertisement, according to CDOT. Stimulus projects have created or sustained 35,361 jobs in Colorado as of Aug. 31, the last time CDOT released stimulus project numbers.
There were 27 FASTER projects under construction as of August, according to CDOT. Five FASTER projects were under contract or pending contract, according to CDOT.
Ken Simonson, the AGC of America’s chief economist, said in a statement that jobs loss for the construction industry may get even worse before it gets better.
“Construction firms are caught between a difficult present and an uncertain future,” he said. “Looking ahead, nobody knows what will happen to the only thing keeping the current market from getting worse, federal spending, as long-term water, energy and transportation spending programs remain in limbo.”