Construction employment increased in 35 states between January and February, according to analysis of federal data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). The industry added 48,000 jobs nationally, indicating the largest one-month gain in almost six years.
“The turnaround in construction hiring that began in a few states two years ago has now spread to most of the country,” said Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “There are strong indications that the expansion will continue for residential and private nonresidential construction, but investment in infrastructure and public buildings is likely to shrink further.”
Simonson noted that only 12 states and D.C. lost construction jobs between January and February, while employment held steady in three states: Connecticut, Montana and Vermont.
Among the 35 states with one-month increases in construction employment, Utah had the largest percentage rise (5.3 percent, 3,700 jobs); followed by Mississippi (4.7 percent, 2,200 jobs); Oklahoma (4.7 percent, 3,200 jobs); and Missouri (4.3 percent, 4,500 jobs).
Texas added the largest number of jobs (15,700, 2.6 percent); followed by Virginia (6,500, 3.8 percent); California (5,700, 0.9 percent) and Missouri.
Washington had the steepest monthly percentage drop in construction employment (-2.5 percent, -3,600 jobs); followed by North Dakota (-2.3 percent, -700 jobs) and Ohio (-2.1 percent, -3,700 jobs). Florida lost the largest number of construction jobs for the month (-5,300, -1.5 percent); followed by Ohio and Washington.
Simonson reported that 29 states and D.C. added construction jobs from February 2012 to February 2013, 20 states lost workers and one—Delaware—had no change. Alaska led all jurisdictions in the percentage of new construction jobs (13.3 percent, 2,200 jobs); followed by Hawaii (8 percent, 2,300 jobs); and Texas (7.5 percent, 43,300 jobs). Texas added the most new construction jobs over the past 12 months, followed by California (35,800, 6.2 percent).
Among states losing construction jobs during the past year, Rhode Island lost the highest percentage (-10.4 percent, -1,700 jobs); followed by Arkansas (-9.6 percent, -4,700 jobs); Montana (-7.2 percent, -1,700 jobs) and South Dakota (-6.4 percent, -1,400 jobs). Ohio lost the most jobs (-7,900 jobs, -4.3 percent); followed by Illinois (-7,500 jobs, -3.8 percent) and Arkansas.