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Sunday, March 18, 2012
Honolulu Loses 600 jobs as Road Construction Lags
By News Release @ 11:57 PM :: 6370 Views :: Labor, Rail

HONOLULU CONSTRUCTION EMPLOYMENT DECLINES BY 600 BETWEEN JANUARY 2011 AND JANUARY 2012 AS KEY FEDERAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAMS LANGUISH

Area Ranks 255 out of 337 for Percentage of Construction Jobs Lost During the Year; Association Officials Say Passing Long-Delayed Federal Transportation Legislation Would Help Create Construction Jobs, Boost Economy

News Release from Associated General Contractors of America March 15

HONOLULU – Another 600 construction jobs were lost in the Honolulu area between January 2011 and January 2012, a 3 percent decline, according to an analysis released by the Associated General Contractors of America today. Association officials noted that Honolulu continues to experience some of the nation’s most severe construction job losses even as Congress is years late in passing legislation to fund vital highway, bridge and other infrastructure repairs.

“What makes these job losses even more frustrating is the fact many of them could have been avoided,” said John Romanowski, president of the Associated General Contractors of America’s state chapter, the General Contractors Association of Hawaii and vice president of Jas. W. Glover Ltd. “Thousands more construction workers would be employed today if Congress wasn’t years late in passing the highway and transit bill.”

Nationally, Honolulu ranked 255 out of 337 metro areas in terms of the percentage of construction jobs lost during the year. Romanowski said that construction employment in Hawaii has declined 30 percent during the past four years. Meanwhile, Honolulu has lost nearly one-quarter of the construction jobs that existed in January 2008, a decline of 6,300 jobs.

The association official noted that construction employment declined over the past year in 111 out of 337 metro areas, remained stagnant in another 57 areas and increased in 169. “These areas are clearly being held back by significant declines in public sector construction activity,” Romanowski said. He noted that public investments in highway and street construction declined by 4.5 percent in 2011 compared to 2010, and by 10 percent for other transportation projects.

Romanowski noted that the employment figures would have been higher had Congress not been years late in passing a range of key infrastructure investment bills, including a multiyear surface transportation bill that funds highway and transit projects nationwide. As a result, it is very difficult for state and local officials to plan for and fund key transportation projects.

The official said the association was working with groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to push for passage of a new, fully-funded, surface transportation bill. He added that the association was working with members of Congress, including Hawaii’s delegation, to get legislation passed that would finally set long-term funding levels for vital transportation projects.

View the new construction employment figures by state or by rank. Click here to read TRIP's report on the condition of Hawaii's roads and bridges.

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