Created: 04/15/2014 5:52 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Albuquerque’s recovery from the Great recession continues to be sluggish – with the metro area still losing jobs, including jobs in the all-important construction field – but there is hope on the horizon.
The metro area lost another 300 construction jobs in February, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. That’s after 100 construction jobs lost in January. That means about 18,400 of us are working those good-paying jobs – far from the peak years of homebuilding before the recession.
We found an example of what happens when not much is getting built when we visited Central and Atrisco this morning. The huge K Mart there is closing down. Declining or stagnant population numbers and declining or stagnant buying power make the struggling discount giant’s survival impossible.
“Yeah, it’s sad that it’s leaving,” said K Mart shopper and neighbor Desiree Lucero. “But it wasn’t like really a grocery store. There was probably a lot of crime, a lot of thievery, because there’s a lot of people who like hang out there. Is the economy in the tank? Yeah, definitely.”
We said there was hope, so here it is. Pultegroup is getting ready to move forward with its brand new Mirehaven development on the West Side north of I-40 and 98th St. That’s almost 900 homes. Then Lifecare is developing a $50 million project in Rio Rancho. We’re talking thousands of construction jobs between the two of them. Construction jobs are actually up a little statewide, offsetting the losses in Albuquerque. Most American cities are seeing construction employment growth this spring, although 106 cities, including Albuquerque, have lost construction jobs.
Best cities for construction job growth? Houston and Los Angeles. Worst? No, not Albuquerque. Bethesda, Maryland has that distinction, followed by St. Louis.