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Report: Small, Midsize Cities Best for Construction

Monday, August 17, 2020

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Insurance information provider AdvisorSmith has released a new analysis of salaries, job availability and the cost of living in 383 cities across the United States to compile the best cities for construction workers.

The data considered the company’s own Cost of Living Index, along with the U.S. Census Bureau's Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas Population Totals, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment Statistics.

In addition to finding the top 10 best cities in the country, the firm also split up the data into sizes of cities. Cities with populations below 150,000 were classified as small cities, populations between 150,000 and 500,000 were classified as midsize cities and large cities had populations above 500,000.

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Insurance information provider AdvisorSmith has released a new analysis of salaries, job availability and the cost of living in 383 cities across the United States to compile the best cities for construction workers.

“The top cities for construction workers tended to be small and midsize cities located all around the country,” the firm noted. “These cities generally paid above-average construction wages and also featured modest costs of living and dense concentrations of construction jobs.”

Top 10 small cities include:

  1. Farmington, New Mexico;
  2. Wheeling, West Virginia;
  3. Mount Vernon, Washington;
  4. Decatur, Illinois;
  5. Fairbanks, Alaska;
  6. Michigan City, Indiana;
  7. Longview, Washington;
  8. Fond du Lac, Wisconsin;
  9. Pittsfield, Massachusetts; and
  10. Lewiston, Idaho.

Top 10 midsize cities include:

  • Springfield, Illinois;
  • Binghamton, New York;
  • Huntington, West Virginia;
  • Saginaw, Michigan;
  • Evansville, Indiana;
  • Anchorage, Alaska;
  • Jefferson City, Missouri;
  • Davenport, Iowa;
  • Kingston, New York; and
  • Bellingham, Washington.

Top 10 large cities include:

  1. Stockton, California;
  2. Pittsburgh;
  3. Spokane, Washington;
  4. Baton Rouge;
  5. Madison, Wisconsin;
  6. Syracuse, New York;
  7. Augusta, Georgia;
  8. Indianapolis;
  9. Riverside, California; and
  10. Seattle.

The study, in general, considered three major factors for determining the best cities for construction workers, including the average salaries for construction workers in each city, the location quotient for construction jobs, and the cost of living in each city.

With these factors in mind, none of the large-sized cities in the separate top 10 lists made it into the cumulative list, which is as follows, with the average annual salary.

  1. Springfield - $52,520;
  2. Farmington - $34,770;
  3. Wheeling - $45,040;
  4. Binghamton - $50,830;
  5. Huntington - $42,920;
  6. Mount Vernon - $56,480;
  7. Saginaw - $43,470;
  8. Decatur - $42,950;
  9. Fairbanks - $50,400; and
  10. Evansville - $42,700.

While these findings are comprehensive, they do not take into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which CEO Adrian Mak said in an interview could change the listings.

"It's too early to know how different cities will be impacted," he said. "Cities in which construction was driven by spending on tourism-related construction may be the most likely to feel an impact. Depending on how long the COVID-19 pandemic lasts, cities with retail, entertainment and office construction may also be impacted."

"We have seen many cities continue or even accelerate their public construction projects, which in some cases have become easier to complete due to shutdowns or lower than normal traffic," Mak said.

Other Data

The Associated General Contractors of America, meanwhile, has some of that data covered. At the end of last month, the AGC released a new analysis of government data that shows that 62% of metro areas decreased construction employment over the past 12 months.

The data looked at 358 metro areas and of those, construction employment decreased in 225, was stagnant in 39 and increased in 94. In addition to that, 18 metros had all-time lows for June construction employment, while at the same time, 28 areas had record highs.

Some specific statistics that AGC highlighted include:

  • The largest percentage increase occurred in Monroe, Michigan, with 31% (500 jobs);
  • New Orleans-Metairie, Louisiana, lost the most jobs during the month with -1,500 jobs (-6%); and
  • The largest percentage loss was in Yuba City, California, with -10% (-300 jobs).


Tagged categories: COVID-19; Economy; Good Technical Practice; Jobs; Market; NA; North America

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