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Construction big job driver across entire region

A just-released study finds that the construction industry is major employer across the Gulf Coast, which tops much of the country with jobs in the field.

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The construction industry is a major employment driver along the Gulf Coast, with Tampa Bay, Cape Coral and Naples among the nation’s leaders in the number of people working in the field.

According to a study that was just released by the industry group Construction Coverage, 6.33% of all jobs in the Tampa Bay market are in construction. That’s the 13th most in the nation among larger metropolitan markets.

As for midsize metros, Cape Coral ranked No. 1, with 12.97% of jobs being in the industry, and Naples-Marco Island was No. 3, with 12.15%.

North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton ranked No. 8 in the midsize metro ranking with 9.13% of jobs being in construction and Punta Gorda came in No. 7 in the small metro ranking with 10.06% of jobs being in the industry.

To complete the study, titled “Cities with the Most Construction Industry Jobs,” researchers calculated the percentage of total employment in the construction sector in the fourth quarter of 2022, the latest data available, and then the ranked metro areas.

Among Florida’s larger metros, Tampa Bay trailed both Jacksonville, which was No.7 with 6.7% of employment in the field, and Orlando, No. 11 with 6.37%.

According to the study, Tampa has 89,310 people working in the industry, up 3.6% from last year. Cape Coral has 37,090 jobs in the industry, up 3.1% from last year; Naples-Marco Island has 19,866 jobs, up 7.9%; North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton has 29,266 jobs, up 5.8%; and Punta Gorda has 5,229 jobs, up 11.6%.

Nationally, 5.25% of the jobs are in the construction industry, with 7.9. million working in the field.

While that is a 3% jump from last year, the study finds that the industry has not fully recovered from the housing crash and the recession that followed.

MetroTotal Construction Jobs% Growth from Q4 2021 to Q4 2022
Cape Coral-Fort Myers37,0903.1%
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton29,2665.8%
Naples-Marco Island
Punta Gorda5,22911.6%
Source: Construction Coverage

“The subprime mortgage crisis, which ravaged the housing industry from 2007 to 2010, resulted in the widespread devaluation of residential homes and discouraged builders from investing in new housing construction,” the study says. “As a consequence, the number of new housing construction charts plummeted, and the repercussions of the recession continue to be felt in the construction industry to this day.”

In the years after the housing crisis and the Great Recession, construction industry jobs fell dramatically with the full impact hitting in January 2011 when the 4.14% job were in the field, a 30-year low.

While the study doesn’t say why Florida construction job industry grew higher than the national average, it’s likely the driving factor is the high demand to keep up with population growth and the rebuilding underway after Hurricane Ian tore through much of the region last year.



Louis Llovio

Louis Llovio is the commercial real estate editor at the Business Observer. Before going to work at the Observer, the longtime business writer worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland Daily Record and for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He lives in Tampa.


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