Construction Employment Boosted by Oil, Gas Projects

June 24, 2013

Construction employment increased in 27 states in May, setting records in Louisiana and North Dakota according to analysis of federal data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Officials noted that demand for construction varies by state.

“The strongest recoveries in construction employment have occurred in states with oil and gas activity, while the steepest construction job losses have occurred in Sunbelt states,” said Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “However, patterns for the past year show that even some lagging states are beginning to add jobs.”

Louisiana added 2,100 construction jobs in May and 11,800 (9.4 percent) over the past 12 months, breaking the state’s previous record set in November 2008. North Dakota gained 800 jobs in May and 900 jobs (3 percent) in the past year, exceeding the level set in September 2012.

In May, 27 states experienced a rise in construction employment, while 20 states and Washington, D.C., lost construction jobs. South Dakota had the largest one-month percentage gain (4.1 percent, 800 jobs), followed by Vermont (3.7 percent, 500 jobs), Arizona (3.6 percent, 4,400 jobs), Iowa (3.5 percent, 2,200 jobs) and Missouri (3.5 percent, 3,600 jobs). Arizona added the largest number of jobs for the month, followed by Ohio (3,900 jobs, 2.3 percent), Illinois (3,900 jobs, 2.2 percent) and Missouri. Employment was stable in Connecticut, Rhode Island and West Virginia.

Alaska had the steepest drop in construction employment from April to May (-7.8 percent, -1,400 jobs), followed by Nevada (-4.2 percent, -2,200 jobs). California lost the largest number of jobs between April and May (-8,500 jobs, -1.4 percent), followed by Florida (-7,500 jobs, -2.1 percent).

In the last year, 32 states added construction jobs, while 17 states and Washington, D.C. lost jobs and Idaho remained unchanged.

Texas added the most jobs (39,200 jobs, 6.7 percent), closely followed by California (38,500 jobs, 6.6 percent). Arizona had the steepest percentage increase (10.4 percent) and third highest total gain (11,900 jobs), followed in both categories by Louisiana (9.4 percent, 11,800 jobs). Despite its strong one-month job gains, Illinois lost the most jobs over the past year (-6,200 jobs, -3.3 percent), followed by North Carolina (-6,000 jobs, -3.5 percent). Montana had the highest year-over-year percentage drop (-9.7 percent, -2,300 jobs), followed by Rhode Island (-6.3 percent, -1,000 jobs).