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Construction Employment Increases in 29 States

According to a new report from the Associated General Contractors of America, construction employment expanded in 29 states during September and October of 2011. During their analysis of state employment data, released recently by the Labor Department, the AGCA found that while construction employment in 29 states increased, fewer people are working in construction compared to last year’s 39 states.

After the data was released Ken Simonson, Chief Economist with the Association, stated that construction employment still remains volatile while the construction industry remains fragile. While he assured that the construction industry was no longer “in free-fall” Simonson said the construction industry had a long way to go as improvements varied from state to state and project to project.

The data collected showed that Arizona (4.4 percent, 5,000 jobs) constructionexperienced the largest one-month seasonally adjusted percentage increase and Texas (2.3 percent, 8,800 jobs) the largest one-month total increase in construction employment between September and October. Other states adding large numbers of construction jobs during October included Illinois (1.5 percent, 3,000 jobs); Washington (2.1 percent, 3,000 jobs); South Carolina (3.2 percent, 2,500 jobs); and Colorado (1.6 percent, 1,800 jobs).

Simonson noted 20 states plus the District of Columbia lost construction jobs during the past month, while construction employment remained unchanged in Rhode Island. Minnesota (-2.7 percent, -2,300 jobs) lost the highest percent of construction jobs for the month while Florida lost the most jobs (-2.4 percent, -8,600 jobs). Among other states losing construction jobs between September and October were Pennsylvania (-1.0 percent, -2,200 jobs); Maryland (-1.3 percent, -1,900 jobs); Georgia (-1.2 percent, -1,800 jobs); and Massachusetts (-1.4 percent, -1,500 jobs).

Eleven states and D.C. added construction jobs for the year, Simonson added. The largest year-over-year percentage increase was in Kansas, where construction employment rose 9.0 percent (5,100 jobs), followed by Oklahoma (8.1 percent, 5,400 jobs); Arkansas (5.1 percent, 2,600 jobs); D.C. (4.6 percent, 500 jobs); and West Virginia (3.3 percent, 1,100 jobs).

Among the 39 states that lost construction jobs over the past twelve months, Nevada experienced the largest percentage decline (-19.5 percent, -14,500) while California lost the most jobs (-45,700, -7.9 percent). Other states experiencing large declines for the year include Idaho (-15.2 percent, -5,000 jobs); Vermont (-13.4 percent, -1,800 jobs); Montana (-10.5 percent, -2,500 jobs); and Missouri (-10.3 percent, -11,900 jobs).

Topics: Construction