Thirty-four states added construction jobs between November 2015 and November 2016 while construction employment increased in 29 states and the District of Columbia during the past month, according to an analysis of Labor Department data released by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Association officials said even as firms in many starts are adding jobs amid growing residential and public sector construction investments, the number of states adding construction jobs for the year has declined compared to a year ago.
“Most of the construction employment gains are coming as firms in many states work to keep pace with growing demand,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the association. “In other states, however, construction employment is being held back by either a lack of work where demand is weak or a lack of workers where demand exceeds the pool of qualified workers”
California added the most construction jobs (35,100 jobs, 4.7 percent) during the past year. Other states adding a high number of new construction jobs for the past 12 months include Florida (23,200 jobs, 5.3 percent), Washington (16,500 jobs, 9.4 percent) and Colorado (12,800 jobs, 8.3 percent). Nevada (11.7 percent, 8,400 jobs) added the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year, followed by Iowa (10.2 percent, 8,300 jobs), Washington and Oregon (8.4 percent, 7,000 jobs).
Fourteen states shed construction jobs between November 2015 and November 2016 while construction employment was unchanged for the year in D.C. and two states. New York lost the highest number of construction jobs (-6,400 jobs, -1.7 percent), followed by Kansas (-3,600 jobs, -5.9 percent), Alabama (-3,600 jobs, -4.4 percent), Connecticut (-2,200 jobs, -3.8 percent) and Kentucky (-2,200 jobs, -2.9 percent).
California added the most construction jobs between October and November (3,900 jobs, 0.5 percent). Other states adding a high number of construction jobs for the month include Ohio (3,600 jobs, 1.7 percent), Minnesota (3,400 jobs, 2.9 percent) and Missouri (3,000 jobs, 2.5 percent). Montana (8.5 percent, 2,100 jobs) added the highest percentage of construction jobs during the past month, followed by West Virginia (5.2 percent, 1,600 jobs), Maine (4.5 percent, 1,100 jobs), Alaska (4.3 percent, 700 jobs) and Minnesota.
Construction employment declined in 21 states during the past month. Arizona shed more construction jobs than any other state (-3,700 jobs, -2.7 percent), followed by New York (-2,400 jobs, -0.7 percent), Illinois (-2,300 jobs, -1.1 percent) and Connecticut (-1,800 jobs, -3.1 percent). Connecticut lost the highest percentage of construction jobs between October and November, followed by Arizona, Vermont (-1.9 percent, -300 jobs), Alabama (-1.3 percent, -1,000 jobs), Oklahoma (-1.2 percent, -1,000 jobs) and Indiana (-1.2 percent, -1,600 jobs).
AGC officials said construction employment will benefit if the incoming administration and Congress make infrastructure projects a top priority early next year. They added that many other parts of the economy stand to benefit from increased investments in civil works projects that will lower shipping costs, increase business productivity and lower costs of many goods for consumers. Any delays in enacting new infrastructure investments could undermine broader economic growth, they cautioned.
“It is not just construction firms that stand to benefit from new the President-elect’s promise to rebuild roads, bridges and other public works,” Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC chief executive officer, said. “These new investments will make our entire economy more competitive, prosperous and successful.”