Construction employment increased in 39 states over the past 12 months, the most widespread gains since April 2012, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data. Association officials said action on needed infrastructure investments for water and transportation projects would help support continued employment growth for the industry.
Mississippi led all states with a 19 percent increase in construction employment between October 2012 and October 2013. Connecticut was next, with an 11 percent increase of, followed by Louisiana (8.3 percent) and Florida (7.7 percent). Florida was first in the number of construction jobs added, closely followed by California (4.3 percent), then Texas (2.4 percent).
Eleven states and the District of Columbia lost construction jobs during the past 12 months. Indiana had the steepest percentage drop in construction employment for the month (-9.5 percent), followed by Montana (-7.3 percent) and D.C. (-5 percent). Indiana also lost the largest number of jobs over the year, followed by Illinois (-2.4 percent) and North Carolina (-2.1 percent).
Between September and October, 32 states added construction jobs, 16 states and D.C. lost construction jobs, and employment was flat in Delaware and Wyoming. Alaska had the steepest percentage gain in construction employment for the month (6.0 percent, 1,000 jobs), closely followed by Nevada (5.9 percent), then Vermont (4.3 percent). Florida added the most construction jobs last month (2.9 percent), followed by Louisiana (2.5 percent) and Nevada.
The worst percentage decline in construction employment last month occurred in Arizona (-2.7 percent), followed by Hawaii (-2.4 percent) and New Jersey (-2.2 percent). Texas lost the largest number of jobs between September and October (-0.7 percent), followed by New York (-1.2 percent), Arizona, New Jersey and Washington (-1.9 percent).
Welcome as the employment gains are, association officials cautioned that industry’s recovery was still uneven and urged Congress and the administration to enact measures to help repair and upgrade aging water and transportation systems. In particular, they urged a Congressional conference committee to settle differences between House and Senate versions of the Water Resources Development Act and pass a final bill. They also urged Congressional negotiators to include infrastructure funding as part of any final budget deal.