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Construction Employment Up in 27 States in May, 32 States Over Last 12 Months

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According to new numbers released by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), construction employment increased in a majority of states in the month of May.

In Louisiana and North Dakota, employment hit all-time highs.  Despite these positive numbers, construction demand remains uneven and AGC officials are urging lawmakers to expedite stalled projects.  The oil and natural gas industries can take a good deal of the credit for the uptick job numbers:

The strongest recoveries in construction employment have occurred in states with oil and gas activity, while the steepest construction job losses have occurred in Sunbelt states,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “However, patterns for the past year show that even some lagging states are beginning to add jobs.”

A majority of states saw growth while 20 experienced declines in employment.  Job losses in Nevada brought the state’s construction employment to 66 percent below its peak in June of 2006.

For the month, 27 states experienced a lift in construction employment, while 20 states and the District of Columbia lost construction jobs. South Dakota had the largest one-month percentage gain (4.1 percent, 800), followed by Vermont (3.7 percent, 500), Arizona (3.6 percent, 4,400), Iowa (3.5 percent, 2,200) and Missouri (3.5 percent, 3,600). Arizona added the largest number of jobs for the month, followed by Ohio (3,900, 2.3 percent), Illinois (3,900, 2.2 percent) and Missouri. Employment was stable in Connecticut, Rhode Island and West Virginia. Alaska had the steepest drop in construction employment from April to May (-7.8 percent, -1,400), followed by Nevada (-4.2 percent, -2,200). California lost the largest number of jobs between April and May (-8,500, -1.4 percent), followed by Florida (-7,500, -2.1 percent).

The trend of construction employment growth has been present for a year now:

Over the past 12 months, 32 states added construction jobs, 17 states and D.C. lost jobs and Idaho had no change. Texas added the most jobs (39,200, 6.7 percent), closely followed by California (38,500, 6.6 percent). Arizona had the steepest percentage increase (10.4 percent) and third highest total gain (11,900), followed in both categories by Louisiana (9.4 percent, 11,800). Despite its strong one-month job gains, Illinois lost the most jobs over the past year (-6,200, -3.3 percent), followed by North Carolina (-6,000, -3.5 percent). Montana had the highest year-over-year percentage drop (-9.7 percent, -2,300), followed by Rhode Island (-6.3 percent, -1,000).

Officials for the AGC are stressing adequate funding of infrastructure projects and reduction of barriers to private investment.  In doing so they believe the states left out of the job surge will add construction jobs as well.  They point to the Water Resources Development Act and the Keystone XL pipeline as major job creation opportunities. “We need measures that will strengthen the economy and help the construction industry continue to add jobs,” AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr said.

Have a look at where your state ranks on the list.


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