Forty-one states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between October 2018 and October 2019. However, construction employment increased in 28 states from September to October. This is according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data released today. Association officials said that firm’s efforts to increase pay and benefits and do more in-house training appear to be helping them find people to hire despite tight labor conditions.
“Construction employment continues to experience robust growth in most parts of the country,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Many firms appear to be overcoming the challenge of low unemployment rates and strong demand for labor. They are doing this by increasing compensation levels and investing more in training people with relatively little experience in construction.”
Growth per state
Texas added the most construction jobs over the year (51,400 jobs, 6.9 percent), followed by California (34,400 jobs, 4.0 percent), Florida (25,300 jobs, 4.6 percent), Arizona (14,400 jobs, 8.9 percent), and Nevada (12,000 jobs, 13.1 percent). Nevada added the highest percentage of construction jobs since last October, followed by New Mexico (11.3 percent, 5,300 jobs), Arizona, New Hampshire (8.1 percent, 2,200 jobs), and Arkansas (7.6 percent, 3,800 jobs). Construction employment reached a record high in Nebraska, Texas, Utah, and Washington.
Eight states shed construction jobs over the latest 12 months, while construction employment was flat in Colorado. Louisiana lost the largest number and percentage of construction jobs (-9,700 jobs, -6.4 percent). Other states with large job losses include Ohio (-8,600 jobs, -3.9 percent) and Tennessee (-3,800 jobs, -2.9 percent). North Carolina (-1,700 jobs, -0.8 percent) and Illinois (-1,600 jobs, -0.7 percent) are in the same boat.
Florida added the most construction jobs between September and October (4,600 jobs, 0.8 percent). California (2,100 jobs, 0.2 percent) followed. Nevada (1,900 jobs, 1.9¬¬ percent), Pennsylvania (1,900 jobs, 0.7 percent), Utah (1,800 jobs, 1.6 percent) and Maryland (1,600 jobs, 1.0 percent) all followed. Montana (2.1 percent, 600 jobs), Rhode Island (2.1 percent, 400 jobs) and Vermont (2.1 percent, 300 jobs) all added the highest percentage of construction jobs for the month. They were followed by Nevada, North Dakota (1.8 percent, 500 jobs) and New Mexico (1.8 percent, 500 jobs).
Construction employment decreased from September to October in 19 states. It was also flat in three states and the District of Columbia. New York lost the largest number of construction jobs for the month (-3,000 jobs, -0.7 percent). Georgia followed (-1,600 jobs, -0.8 percent), Illinois (-1,500 jobs, -0.7 percent). After that it is Colorado (-1,400 jobs, -0.8 percent). Alaska had the largest percentage decline for the month (-1.8 percent, -300 jobs). They were followed by West Virginia (-1.3 percent, -600 jobs), Kansas (-1.1 percent, -700 jobs) and Hawaii (-1.0 percent, -400 jobs).
Association officials note that a survey of construction firms the association released in August found that many firms report boosting pay and benefits to cope with workforce shortages. A significant number of firms also reported they have boosted investments in training and development programs. They are doing this as they work to prepare new hires with relatively little construction experience or training. They added that more people would likely pursue construction careers if Washington officials would increase funding for both career and technical education programs.
“Construction firms are taking the lead to recruit people into the construction industry who may not have originally pursued this career choice,” says Stephen E. Sandherr. He is the association’s chief executive officer. “And if Washington can increase funding for high-school level construction programs, even more people would choose to pursue construction careers instead of amassing collegiate debt.”
The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is the leading association for the construction industry. AGC represents more than 27,000 firms, including over 6,500 of America’s leading general contractors, and over 9,000 specialty-contracting firms. More than 10,500 service providers and suppliers are also associated with AGC, all through a nationwide network of chapters.