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Phyllis Harden

Legislative & Special Projects, Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel
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January 23, 2018

California & Nevada Have Biggest Job Gains for the Year, Iowa and Missouri Have Largest Declines;California and Montana Add the Most Jobs for the Month while New Jersey Loses the Most Jobs

Forty-two states added construction jobs between December 2016 and December 2017, while 32 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between November and December, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data released today. Association officials said a new federal infrastructure measure would help guarantee continued employment gains in the sector.

“Construction employment is expanding in many parts of the country in large part because of strong private-sector demand,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist.  “Any new public-sector investments, particularly for infrastructure projects, would help accelerate job gains in many parts of the country.”

California added the most construction jobs (56,000 jobs, 7.1 percent) during the past year. Other states adding a high number of new construction jobs for the past 12 months include Florida (43,900 jobs, 9.1 percent); Texas (27,900 jobs, 4.0 percent); Pennsylvania (13,100 jobs, 5.4 percent) and Washington (11,500 jobs, 6.0 percent). Nevada (12.8 percent, 10,400 jobs) added the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year, followed by Rhode Island (11.3 percent, 2,100 jobs); Oklahoma (10.7 percent, 8,200 jobs); Oregon (10.5 percent, 10,000 jobs) and Alaska (9.7 percent, 1,500 jobs).

Eight states shed construction jobs between December 2016 and December 2017 while construction employment was unchanged in the District of Columbia. Missouri lost the highest number of construction jobs (-8,800 jobs, -7.2 percent), followed by Iowa (-7,500 jobs, -9.2 percent); North Carolina (-2,100 jobs, -1.0 percent) and Connecticut (-1,900 jobs, -3.3 percent).  Iowa lost the highest percentage for the year, followed by Missouri; North Dakota (-4.1 percent, -1,300 jobs); Connecticut and Nebraska (-1.2 percent, -600 jobs).

Among the 32 states and the District of Columbia that added construction jobs between November and December, California added more than any other state (7,000 jobs, 0.8 percent), followed by Minnesota (5,700 jobs, 4.7 percent); Pennsylvania (4,800 jobs, 1.9 percent); Florida (4,600 jobs, 0.9 percent) and Texas (4,300 jobs, 0.6 percent). Montana added the highest percentage of construction jobs for the month (5.5 percent, 1,500 jobs), followed by Minnesota; Oklahoma (3.5 percent, 2,900 jobs); Alaska (3.0 percent, 500 jobs) and Wyoming (3.0 percent, 600 jobs).

Fifteen states lost construction jobs between November and December, while construction employment was unchanged in three states. New Jersey lost the most construction jobs as well as the highest percentage for the month (-4,300 jobs, -2.7 percent), followed by Alabama (-1,800 jobs, -2.0 percent); Missouri (-1,800 jobs, -1.6 percent); Ohio (-1,700 jobs, -0.8 percent) and Iowa (-1,300 jobs, -1.7 percent).

Association officials said the best way to ensure construction employment continues to expand is for Congress and the administration to work together to enact new infrastructure investments. They noted that, according to a sector survey the association released earlier this month, many firms appear to be counting on new federal infrastructure funding as they plan to expand headcount this year.

“Many construction firms are counting on the president to deliver on his promise to boost infrastructure funding,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer for the association. “Passing a new infrastructure measure will support more job growth where construction firms are already hiring and help reverse declines in the states where employment is falling.”   

View the state employment data by rank and state

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