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Construction Employment Is Down In Three-fourths Of States Since February, Even After 36 States Added Construction Jobs In October

November 23, 2020

New York and Vermont Post Worst Losses since February as Virginia and South Dakota Add the Most; Maryland Records Worst One-Month Job Losses, While California and Alaska Post Biggest Gains

Construction employment in October remained depressed compared to pre-pandemic levels in three-fourths of states despite the fact 36 states and D.C. added new construction jobs in October, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government employment data released today. Association officials added that demand for most types of nonresidential projects remains weak amid pandemic-related uncertainty and urged federal officials to enact a new round of coronavirus recovery measures.

“An increasing number of nonresidential contractors are experiencing cancellations that are forcing them to lay off workers,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Although single-family homebuilding and remodeling contractors are adding workers, most states are likely to have a net loss of construction workers soon, especially from high-paying, nonresidential jobs.”

Seasonally adjusted construction employment in October was lower than in February—the last month before the pandemic forced many contractors to suspend work—in 37 states, Simonson noted. New York lost the most construction jobs over that span (-41,600 jobs or -10.1 percent), closely followed by Texas (-41,500 jobs, -5.2 percent). Vermont had the largest percentage loss (-21.8 percent, -3,200 jobs), followed by North Dakota (-13.2 percent, -3,900 jobs).

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