Texas and Wyoming Top Lists of Year-over-Year Gains, While Missouri, North Dakota Record the Worst Losses; Oregon and Rhode Island Lead in Monthly Increases, While Virginia and Alaska Experience Largest Declines
Construction employment increased in 43 states and the District of Columbia in September from a year earlier, while 28 states and D.C. added construction employees from August to September, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America today. Association officials said the month-over-month dips in construction employment in some parts of the country were likely caused by firms struggling to find enough workers to replace retiring ones amid labor shortages.
“The construction industry continues to add employees nearly everywhere on a year-over-year basis,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “But contractors are struggling to fill openings quickly, which means many states experience short-term dips in employment from month to month.”
Between September 2022 and September 2023, 43 states and D.C. added construction jobs, while industry employment declined in seven states. Texas added the most construction jobs over the year (19,900 or 2.5 percent), followed by California (14,100 jobs, 1.5 percent), Ohio (12,700 jobs, 5.4 percent), Louisiana (10,700, 8.2 percent), and Georgia (10,700 jobs, 5.0 percent). Wyoming had the largest percentage increase in construction jobs over 12 months (11.1 percent, 2,300 jobs), followed by Arkansas (10.4 percent, 6,100 jobs), West Virginia (9.3 percent, 2,800 jobs), Kentucky (8.8 percent, 7,400 jobs), and Louisiana.
Missouri lost the most jobs during the past 12 months (-6,500 jobs, -4.6 percent), followed by Colorado (-4,200 jobs, -2.3 percent), North Carolina (-2,300 jobs, -0.9 percent), North Dakota (-1,400 jobs, -5.4 percent), and Virginia (-1,300 jobs, -0.6 percent). North Dakota had the largest percentage loss, followed by Missouri, Colorado, and North Carolina.
For the month, construction employment increased in 28 states and D.C., declined in 21 states, and was unchanged in New Hampshire. Oregon added the most jobs over the month (3,200 jobs, 2.6 percent), followed by Tennessee (2,600 jobs, 1.7 percent), California (2,200 jobs, 0.2 percent), and Oklahoma (2,000 jobs, 2.4 percent). The largest percentage gain occurred in Rhode Island (2.8 percent, 600 jobs), followed by Oregon, Oklahoma, and Iowa (2.2 percent, 1,800 jobs).
Virginia experienced the largest decline in construction jobs in September (-3,800 jobs, -1.8 percent), followed by Missouri (-2,500 jobs, -1.8 percent), Arizona (-2,300 jobs, -1.1 percent), and New Jersey (-1,600 jobs, -1.0 percent. Alaska had the largest percentage loss for the month, followed by Missouri and Virginia.
Association officials said the industry was working to attract new people into the industry, particularly from communities – like Black Americans and women – that have traditionally been under-represented in construction. They noted the association is investing in targeted digital advertising to recruit new people into the industry, and its Culture of Care program is designed to help firms better retain new and existing workers.
“The industry is working hard to bring in a new and more diverse generation of construction professionals,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Finding effective ways to recruit from under-represented communities will help construction firms keep pace with growing demand for construction.”