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Construction employment increases in 39 states from May 2023 to May 2024: 26 states add jobs this spring

Washington Construction News staff writer

Construction employment increased in 39 states in May from a year earlier, while 26 states added construction jobs between April and May, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America on June 25. Association officials noted that construction labor shortages remain acute even as demand for construction remains varied by project type.

“Although some project types are slowing, there is unrelenting competition for workers for data centers, manufacturing plants, power and infrastructure projects in much of the country,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The industry’s ‘war for talent’ is driving up labor-related costs faster than in other industries.”

Between May 2023 and May 2024, 39 states added construction jobs, and ten states and the District of Columbia shed jobs, and employment remained unchanged in New Mexico. Texas added the most construction employees (35,000 jobs, 4.3 percent), followed by Florida (27,700 jobs, 4.4 percent), California (17,000 jobs, 1.9 percent), and Michigan (15,900 jobs, 8.4 percent). Alaska had the largest percentage increase over 12 months (20.4 percent, 3,400 jobs), followed by Hawaii (10.0 percent, 3,800 jobs), Michigan, Nevada (8.1 percent, 9,000 jobs), and Arkansas (7.3 percent, 4,600 jobs).

Maryland lost the most construction jobs during the past 12 months (-5,000 jobs, -3.1 percent), followed by Washington (-3,900 jobs, -1.7 percent), Pennsylvania (-3,000 jobs, -1.2 percent), and Colorado (-2,300 jobs, -1.2 percent). The largest percentage loss was in D.C. (-3.3 percent, -500 jobs), followed by Maryland, Washington, and Oregon (-1.5 percent, -1,700 jobs).

For the month, industry employment increased in 26 states, declined in 22 states and D.C., and was unchanged in Rhode Island and North Dakota. Ohio added the largest number and percentage of jobs over the month (7,000 jobs, 3.0 percent). Other states with large monthly increases include Florida (5,500 jobs, 0.8 percent), Texas (5,500 jobs, 0.6 percent), and New York (5,200 jobs, 5.2 percent). Other states with large percentage gains include Alaska (1.5 percent, 300 jobs), New York, Hawaii (500 jobs, 1.2 percent), and South Carolina (0.9 percent, 1,000 jobs).

Tennessee lost the most construction jobs from April to May (-1,700 jobs, -1.1 percent), followed by Wisconsin (-1,500 jobs, -1.1 percent) and Oklahoma (-1,100 jobs, -1.3 percent). Maine lost the highest percentage of jobs (-2.1 percent, -700 jobs), followed by Wyoming (-1.7 percent, -400 jobs), Oklahoma (-1.3 percent, -1,100 jobs), and South Dakota (-1.3 percent, -400 jobs).

Association officials noted that a recent report the association released showed the federal government significantly underinvests in workforce development programs needed to expose, and prepare, workers to careers in fields like construction. They urged Congress and the Biden administration to boost funding for construction education and training programs.

“It is hard to recruit people into high paying construction careers when four out of every five federal dollars are being used to urge students to go to college and earn a four-year degree,” Jeffrey D. Shoaf, the association’s chief executive officer, said. “If we want to build the economy of the future, we need to invest in the workforce of today.”

View May 2024 state employment and and

Mark Buckshon
Mark Buckshonhttps://washingtonconstructionnews.com
Mark Buckshon is the publisher and interim editor of Washington Construction News. He is also president of the Construction News and Report Group of Companies. He combines a journalism and business background, and has published construction trade publications for more than 30 years, after an earlier career in journalism, which culminated when he lived through the transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe in 1978-80 as a sub-editor for the Bulawayo Chronicle and a correspondent for a Canadian news service.

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