Chicago trails just Sun Belt in lost building jobs

By Kathy Bergen
Posted March 15 at 11:06 a.m.

The Chicago area followed close behind battered Sun Belt metro areas in numbers of lost construction jobs in the downturn, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Chicago-Joliet-Naperville region lost 33 percent of its construction jobs, or 52,100 positions, between January of 2007 and this January, the sixth-greatest loss among metro areas, according to the group’s analysis of government data.

Phoenix lost the most, at 91,400, or 54 percent; followed by Las Vegas, 61,900, 61 percent; Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., 57,700, 51 percent; Atlanta, 57,700, 42 percent; and Los Angeles, 56,200, down 37 percent.

Nationally, 28 cities lost 50 percent or more of their construction jobs.

Overall, the construction downturn has left more than 2.2 million workers unemployed, giving the industry a 21.8 percent unemployment rate, the group said.

The organization also proposed a recovery plan that calls for a wide range of measures, from approving pending trade agreements to giving tax credits to encourage development.

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  1. Paul March 15 at 12:51 pm

    It’s called the housing bust. Will probably be a long time before the numbers rise to previous levels.

  2. zack66 March 15 at 1:26 pm

    It is a lot more than the housing bust…those who lost jobs include architects, engineers, interior designers, surveyors as well as those directly involved in the contruction trades. Commercial, institutional and housing sectors are all hurting across the country.

  3. Andrew Metcalfe March 15 at 5:19 pm

    I’m curious – rental construction has started picking up in various parts of the city with large towers starting construction. See SONO for example. I’m curious how quickly this activity will be reflected in the numbers.