Construction Employment Rises In 39 States Between February 2023 And Last Month, While 31 States Add Employees From January To February

Texas and Alaska Register the Largest Yearly and One-Month Gains; New York and North Dakota Experience the Worst Declines over 12 Months, While California and Minnesota Have the Largest Decreases in the Latest Month

Construction employment increased in 39 states in February from a year earlier, while 31 states added construction jobs from January to February, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America today. Association officials said the employment figures were likely impacted by unusual winter weather conditions in many parts of the country and the fact many contractors continue to struggle to find enough qualified workers to hire.

“Exceptional winter weather can make comparisons tricky in many states, but it is clear that there is still growing demand for construction workers in much of the country,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Most contractors are more concerned about filling jobs than a downturn in activity.”

Between February 2023 and 2024, 39 states added construction jobs, while industry employment declined in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Texas added the most jobs over the year (32,200 jobs, 4.0 percent), followed by Florida (21,000 jobs, 3.4 percent), California (11,500 jobs, 1.3 percent), Arizona (8,500 jobs, 4.1 percent), and North Carolina (7,600 jobs, 3.0 percent). Alaska had the largest percentage increase (15.6 percent, 2,600 jobs), followed by South Dakota (12.4 percent, 3,400 jobs), Arkansas (10.9 percent, 6,700 jobs), Oklahoma (8.0 percent, 6,500 jobs), and Idaho (6.6 percent, 4,400 jobs). New York lost the most jobs over 12 months (-19,000 jobs, -4.8 percent), followed by Washington (-8,200 jobs, -3.5 percent), Ohio (-5,600 jobs, -3.3 percent), and Maryland (-5,300 jobs, -3.3 percent). The largest percentage losses occurred in North Dakota (-5.7 percent, -1,600 jobs), New York, Minnesota (-3.6 percent, -4,900 jobs), and Washington.

For the month, construction employment increased in 31 states, declined in 17 states, and was unchanged in South Carolina, Vermont, and D.C. Texas added the most jobs over the month (7,800 jobs, 0.9 percent), followed by Illinois (6,200 jobs, 2.7 percent) and Missouri (3,700 jobs 2.5 percent). The largest percentage pickup occurred in Alaska (4.9 percent, 900 jobs), followed by 2.7 percent gains in Illinois and Kansas (1,800 jobs).

California experienced the largest decline in construction jobs in February (-9,600 jobs, -1.0 percent), followed by New York (-5,300 jobs, -1.4 percent) and New Jersey (-3,400 jobs, -2.0 percent). Minnesota had the largest percentage loss for the month (-2.3 percent, -2,000 jobs), followed by New Jersey and New York.

Association officials continued to call for greater federal investments in career and technical education programs that focus on teaching key construction skills. They noted that too few future workers are even aware of the many high-paying opportunities available to them in construction.

“A lot more people would be working in high-paying construction positions in more states if they knew about the opportunities that are available,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Instead of urging every student to go to college and amass too much debt, federal officials should be investing in programs to show students there are multiple paths to success in life.”

View February 2024 state employment data and 1-mo rankings and 12-mo rankings.

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