Rise in Construction Employment in the Last Year Though Growth is Slowing

Construction jobs are on the rise according to an analysis of Department of Labor (DOL) data released by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America on Oct., 21 2016. From September 2015 to September 2016, 35 states added construction jobs. However, from August 2016 to September of 2016 only 21 states and the District of Columbia added jobs, despite reports of worker shortages.

California experienced the largest growth in the last year, adding 30,900 construction jobs—a 4.2 percent increase—between September 2015 and September 2016. They were followed by Florida (22,800 jobs or 5.2 percent) and Colorado (19,400 jobs or 13 percent). Iowa had the highest percentage increase of new jobs at 17.7 percent (13,700 jobs), and Hawaii and Idaho tied for second at 11.1 percent (3,900 and 4,2000 jobs respectively).

At the same time, the District of Columbia and 15 states, including Kansas, Alabama and Pennsylvania, lost construction jobs.

Despite promising employment increases over the course of the year, the last month of the DOL’s data—from August 2016 to September 2016—shows significantly less growth, suggesting that employment grew at a faster rate towards the beginning of the data year and now that rate is beginning to slow.

In August, the largest increase in construction jobs occurred in New York, which added 5,100 jobs or a 1.4 percent increase followed by California (5,000 jobs or 0.7 percent) and Texas (3,4000 jobs or 0.5 percent). The highest percentage of job growth occurred in Arizona with a 2.1 percent increase or 2,900 jobs.

An increase in employment can hardly be misconstrued as a bad thing, but the rate of new employment in the month of August is a far cry from the growth seen throughout the last year. In addition to these increases, 24 states saw a decline in construction employment and 5 states held steady in August.

All of this has occurred while companies report having worker shortages, leading AGC officials to believe this signals a lack of qualified candidates for the positions. 

“The list of states that are adding construction jobs has been shrinking, yet contractors generally report they are busy now and optimistic about the workload ahead,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the AGC. “Therefore, the lack of employment increases in many states may reflect the difficulty contractors say they are having in finding qualified workers.”

The association continues to push for Congress and policy-makers to pass a measure to help schools create programs to enable students to enter the construction field.

View more employment data—

By rank: https://www.agc.org/sites/default/files/Files/Communications/State_Empl…

By State: https://www.agc.org/sites/default/files/Files/Communications/State_Empl…

For the rest of the year: https://www.agc.org/learn/construction-data/construction-data-employment

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