Photo Courtesy of NYC Department of Buildings
“While the nation has yet to recover all of the construction jobs it lost during the Great Recession, New York’s construction industry is booming,” Comptroller DiNapoli said.
By Forum Staff
The construction industry in the state has set employment records for four consecutive years with New York City accounting for half of the Empire State’s construction-job gains since 2010, according to a recently released report by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
In “The Construction Industry in New York City,” DiNapoli notes that in 2018, New York had the fourth-largest construction industry in the nation, following California, Texas and Florida. It was also one of only 14 states in which construction employment had surpassed 2006 levels, which was the year construction employment peaked nationally.
Job growth was strong in the downstate region between 2010 and 2018, with construction employment increasing by at least 35 percent in the New York City, Long Island, and the Orange-Rockland-Westchester metropolitan areas, according to the report. These areas accounted for about 86 percent of the construction jobs added in the state during this period.
In the five boroughs, the construction industry added 45,300 jobs between 2010 and 2018, increasing by 40 percent. Construction was the second-fastest growing employment sector during this period, DiNapoli said. By 2018, construction employment had reached a record of 157,800 jobs, 19 percent higher (25,000 jobs) than ten years earlier. Construction employment has continued to grow during the first quarter of 2019.
The report also indicated that the construction industry paid out $11.9 billion in wages in 2017; and construction was the fourth-highest paying employment sector in the Big Apple, with an average salary of $80,200 in 2017, according to latest available data. More than 22 percent of the workers earned more than $80,000.
The comptroller’s analysis also noted that, across the five boroughs, construction firms generated an estimated $84 billion in economic activity in 2018, representing 10 percent of the city’s total economic output.
Additionally, construction spending in NYC set a record of $61.5 billion in 2018, according to the New York Building Congress, but the group expects spending to decline slightly in 2019.
“While the nation has yet to recover all of the construction jobs it lost during the Great Recession, New York’s construction industry is booming,” DiNapoli said. “In 2018, the construction industry was nearly 11 percent larger than it was 10 years earlier. The industry is crucial to both the State and City, creating thousands of good-paying jobs and providing a key indicator that our economy is healthy.”
While there are signs the construction boom in the city may have peaked, such as a small decline in new building permits in 2018, construction activity remains strong. Going forward, the city’s construction industry could be sustained by the large capital programs planned by the city, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, DiNapoli posited.
“The building industry is essential to New York and our economy—not only does it generate good-paying jobs and economic development, but it creates the schools, hospitals, housing, offices, train stations, bridges, roads and other infrastructure that we use every day,” added NY Building Congress President and CEO Carlo Scissura.