BR, Lake Charles rank high construction employment

A new report from the Associated General Contractors of America found that Lake Charles and Baton Rouge ranked among the top 25 cities in the U.S. for the most construction jobs added in the past year.

From January 2013 to January 2014, Lake Charles has gone from 9,800 construction jobs to 11,800, according to the AGC report. That 20 percent growth was the eighth-biggest gain. Baton Rouge added 4,500 construction jobs in the same period, going from 41,500 in January 2013 to 46,000, an 11 percent gain. That tied Baton Rouge for 22nd place with 15 other cities, including San Francisco, San Diego, Nashville, Tenn., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Pascagoula, Miss., had the biggest percentage gain in construction workers, jumping 46 percent from January to January, or going from 4,600 construction jobs to 6,700. The AGC noted that Baton Rouge previously hit its January peak for construction employment in 2013. So the Capital Region was the leading city in terms of the number of new jobs added since hitting the peak.

Both Baton Rouge and Lake Charles have been boosted by major industrial construction projects tied to expansions in the petrochemical industry.

Other Louisiana cities saw modest gains in the report. The number of construction workers in Lafayette increased by 300 over the year, or 4 percent, to hit 7,000. New Orleans and Houma-Thibodaux saw no change in the number of construction workers, holding still at 5,400 and 30,400, respectively. And Shreveport-Bossier City dropped by 100 construction workers to 7,800.

Of the 339 cities charted by the AGC, Gary, Ind., had the biggest year-to-year drop in construction jobs, falling by 4,400 or 25 percent to 13,500.

AGC bases its report on an analysis of federal employment data.