Construction employment climbed in 38 states from October to November and 42 states added construction jobs during the past 12 months, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America on Dec. 19. Association officials said the new employment data shows demand remains strong for the industry as contractors continue to search for even more workers to hire.
The District fared relatively poorly, with employment levels at 14,900 remaining flat between October and November, and with a 700-job loss since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in February, 2020.
Nationally, “there is no sign of recession in construction employment data,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “In fact, contractors report almost universally that they need more workers than they can find.”
In November, 38 states added construction employees, eight states shed workers, and employment was flat in four states and the District of Columbia. Florida added the most construction jobs over the month (5,400 jobs, 0.9 percent), followed by Ohio (4,800 jobs, 2.0 percent), Louisiana (3,400 jobs, 2.7 percent), and Michigan (3,300 jobs, 1.8 percent). The largest percentage gain occurred in Rhode Island (3.6 percent, 800 jobs), followed by Nebraska (3.3 percent, 2,000 jobs), Louisiana, Ohio, and Vermont (2.0 percent, 300 jobs).
Texas experienced the largest decline in construction jobs in November (-3,900 jobs, -0.5 percent), followed by Colorado (-3,400 jobs, -1.8 percent), Minnesota (-2,300 jobs, -1.8 percent), and South Carolina (-700 jobs, -0.7 percent). Colorado and Minnesota had the largest percentage loss for the month, followed by New Mexico (0.7 percent, -400 jobs) and South Carolina.
Over the past 12 months, 42 states added construction jobs, while industry employment declined in eight states and D.C. California added the most jobs over the year (37,200 jobs, 4.2 percent), followed by Texas (29,200 jobs, 3.9 percent) and Florida (22,600 jobs, 3.9 percent). North Dakota had the largest percentage increase (15.6 percent, 4,000 jobs), followed by Rhode Island (13.1 percent, 2,700 jobs). South Carolina lost the largest number and percentage of construction jobs over 12 months (-4,700 jobs, -4.5 percent), followed by New Jersey (-4,600 jobs, -2.9 percent).
Association officials said contractors are still struggling to find enough workers to keep pace with demand for new construction projects. They urged Washington officials to adopt immigration reforms to allow more people to enter the country to work in construction as a short-term solution. They also continued to urge the administration and Congress to boost investments in construction-focused education and training programs to provide a long-term path for more Americans to enter high-paying construction careers.
“Contractors are still turning down some projects because they do not have enough people to do the work,” said Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Making immigration reforms and boosting investments in construction education will allow the industry to build projects now while constructing a stronger, larger workforce for the future.”