Forty-four states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between January 2015 and January 2016 while construction employment increased in 30 states and D.C. between December and January, according to analysis of Labor Department data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said the new employment figures show strong demand for construction except in a number of energy producing states.
“Construction remains vibrant in nearly every state and is adding workers at a faster clip than other industries in much of the country,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the association. “Contractors report they are optimistic that demand for construction will continue, but they worry about finding enough qualified workers.”
California added the most (45,700 jobs, 6.5 percent) construction jobs between January 2015 and January 2016. Other states adding a high number of new construction jobs for the past 12 months include Florida (30,500 jobs, 7.3 percent), Texas (18,700 jobs, 2.8 percent) and New York (15,700 jobs, 4.5 percent). Hawaii added the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year (15.6 percent, 5,100 jobs), followed by Rhode Island (12.7 percent, 2,100 jobs), Nevada (10.2 percent, 6,800 jobs) and Massachusetts (9.9 percent, 13,200 jobs).
The six states that shed construction jobs during the past 12 months have been hurt by the steep drop in oil and gas drilling and coal mining, Simonson noted. North Dakota (-14.4 percent, -5,300 jobs) lost the highest percent and total number of construction jobs. Other states that lost jobs for the year include Alaska (-8.7 percent, -1,600 jobs), West Virginia (-7.4 percent, -2,500 jobs), Wyoming (-5.1 percent, -1,200 jobs), Kansas (-2.2 percent, -1,300 jobs) and Pennsylvania (-1.5 percent, -3,600 jobs).
Florida added the most construction jobs between December and January (7,900 jobs, 1.8 percent). Other states adding a high number of construction jobs include Tennessee (4,200 jobs, 3.4 percent), North Carolina (3,800 jobs, 2.0 percent) and Louisiana (3,500 jobs, 2.4 percent). Tennessee added the highest percentage of construction jobs during the past month, followed by Maine (3.3 percent, 900 jobs), Montana (3.3 percent, 900 jobs) and New Mexico (2.5 percent, 1,100 jobs).
Eighteen states lost construction jobs during the past month while construction employment was unchanged in Delaware and New Hampshire. Virginia shed more construction jobs than any other state (-6,400 jobs, -3.4 percent), followed by New York (-5,900 jobs, -1.6 percent), Texas (-4,100 jobs, -0.6 percent), Kansas (-2,900 jobs, -4.7 percent) and Pennsylvania (-2,200 jobs -0.9 percent). Kansas lost the highest percentage of construction jobs between December and January, followed by Virginia, Kentucky (-2.7 percent, -2,100 jobs), North Dakota (-2.5 percent, -800 jobs) and Arkansas (-2.2 percent, -1,100 jobs).
Association officials said the January state employment figures indicate strong demand for construction services throughout the country, except in a number of states that rely heavily on energy production. They said the strong demand was welcome but was likely to put further strain on already tight labor conditions. That is why they will continue pushing elected and appointed officials to act on the measures outlines in the association’s Workforce Development Plan.
“Contractors won’t be able to keep pace with demand for their services if they don’t have enough workers to complete projects on schedule,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. View the state employment data by rank and state. View the state employment map.