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Construction employment rises


AGCConstruction employment continues to be a key indicator of where the market is headed. Construction employment expanded in 20 states between October and November, while the list of states with year-over-year construction job gains grew to 13 states plus the District of Columbia, the Associated General Contractors of America reported in an analysis of state employment data released today by the Labor Department. The new figures continue a year-long pattern of mixed results in construction employment as overall demand remains weak, association officials noted.

“It is encouraging that the number of states adding jobs year-over-year was higher in November than at any time since February 2008,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “However, the data also make clear that these gains are as spotty as they are tenuous.” Simonson noted, for example, that California had the largest monthly increase in construction employment—adding 7,800 jobs—but also the largest 12-month drop—36,900 jobs, or 6.4 percent. New Jersey and New York had the next-highest number of construction job gains in November with 4,500. New Jersey also led the nation in monthly percentage gains (3.7 percent), followed by Vermont (3.4 percent, 400 jobs) and Maine (2.5 percent, 600 jobs).

The largest year-over-year percentage gains occurred in Oklahoma (9.2 percent, 6,100 jobs), New Hampshire (6.7 percent, 1,500 jobs) and Kansas (4.7 percent, 2,700 jobs). Texas had the largest increase in the number of construction employees (13,400 jobs, 2.4 percent).