Construction Employment Drops in 32 States

May 20, 2013


Employment in the construction sector decreased in 32 states between March and April, while 29 states added jobs in the last year, according to an analysis of federal data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

AGC officials attribute the decline to a reduction of construction demand in the private sector and federal construction spending cuts.

“The industry shows signs of recovering but employment growth continues to be uneven, with some areas seeing stronger gains even as others continue to contract,” said Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “In addition, recent federal construction spending cuts amid still modest private sector growth is making it hard for the industry to recover in more areas.”

Illinois had the largest decline in construction employment between March and April (-7,900 jobs, -4.3 percent). New York had the second-largest decline in employment (-6,600 jobs, -2.0 percent), followed by Wisconsin (-3,900 jobs, -4.1 percent). Vermont had the highest percentage decrease in construction employment (-6.3 percent, -900 jobs), followed by Illinois and Wisconsin.

Seventeen states added construction jobs between March and April, while employment was flat in New Hampshire. Florida added the largest number of construction jobs (9,000 jobs, 2.6 percent) while Connecticut had the highest percentage increase (3.9 percent, 2,100 jobs). California added the second-largest number of jobs added (7,400 jobs, 1.2 percent), followed by Texas (6,000 jobs, 1.0 percent). Mississippi had the second-highest percentage increase (3.1 percent, 1,500 jobs), followed by West Virginia (2.9 percent, 1,000 jobs).

AGC noted that 29 states added construction jobs from April 2012 to April 2013 and 21 states and D.C. states lost workers. Hawaii led all jurisdictions in the percentage of new construction jobs (11.5 percent, 3,300 jobs); followed by Alaska (9.1 percent, 1,500 jobs) and Louisiana (8.1 percent, 10,200 jobs). California added the most new construction jobs over the past 12 months (44,800, 7.7 percent), followed by Texas (41,500 jobs, 7.1 percent).

“While the industry ultimately needs broader private sector demand to truly recover, boosting infrastructure investments will certainly help,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC’s CEO. “The last thing Washington should be doing is taking steps that undermine the sector's nascent recovery.”