Not surprisingly, construction employment declined in most metropolitan areas from April 2008 to April 2009, which has prompted some to say it’s high time to use stimulus money to help the issue.

Ken Simonson, chief economist for Associated General Contractors of America, said the data shows a need for the federal government to move quickly with the stimulus money.

The largest declines in construction employment were in Redding, Calif., 31.6 percent; Pascagoula, Miss., 38.8 percent; Tucson, Ariz., 29.2 percent; and Reno-Sparks, Nev., 29.1 percent.

“Job loss figures like these are exactly what prompted Congress and the Administration to craft a stimulus package designed to put Americans back to work as quickly as possible,” Simonson said.

But, he is concerned that the Buy American provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is driving up the cost of some construction projects and delaying others.

“We need to make sure needless red tape and regulations don’t keep construction workers off the job,” he said. “There’s a real risk that Buy American provisions, for example, could undermine the very purpose of the stimulus – to get Americans working again.”

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  1. A sure-fire way to put members of the home construction industry back to work is through the Federal stimulus “First time homebuyers tax credit.”
    First time homebuyers can participate in the economic recovery by buying a home before the end of November 2009 and claiming a tax credit – ten percent of the purchase price for qualified buyers. What’s the rush? The law says you must close before November 30, and purchasing a home takes time.
    This good news just got better. Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) and FHA have now come up with a way for buyers to apply their credit to the purchase immediately, rather than waiting for a tax refund. FHA buyers will still have to make the required 3.5% down payment, but applying the tax credit can reduce the monthly payment.
    To help new buyers take advantage of the credit, Colorado Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) is offering buyers who qualify for the credit a JumpStart Loan, a second mortgage of up to 3.5% of the purchase price (maximum loan amount is $6,000) at zero percent interest through June 2010.
    For more information about the First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit, go to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) for more information and a link to the federal government site.

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