Construction employment levels have flat-lined in the past year or declined in 37 percent of the metro areas surveyed by the government, the Associated General Contractors of America said.
Out of 358 metro areas where employment data was reported between May 2015 and May 2016, the number of employed construction workers was stagnant or declined in 131 of them, the association said.
AGC officials blamed a lack of spending on public works projects such as roads for the figures.
“Inadequate investment in infrastructure is a major reason for the spotty construction employment gains by metro," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. Simonson added that investment in structures by cities, counties, states and the federal government as a share of the economy has fallen to less than half of what it was after the U.S. highway act was passed in 1956.
"Six decades after bipartisan legislation to connect our country helped sparked widespread prosperity and economic growth, it is time for our leaders to again come together and invest in our infrastructure," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the AGC's chief executive officer. "Rebuilding the public infrastructure that Americans have come to take for granted will help employers be more efficient, save commuters thousands of dollars each year and protect the health of all our communities."