Construction Jobs Increase in 32 States in January

March 18, 2020

Construction employment increased in 32 states in January compared to both December and January 2019, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said that the data was collected well before the coronavirus began to impact the economy and that construction employment levels are likely to decline beginning in March as the virus impacts many parts of the economy.

“The construction industry began 2020 with widespread employment gains, although fewer states had increases than in 2019,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Exceptionally mild winter weather in many states probably added to January construction employment totals.”

Texas added the most construction jobs between January 2019 and January 2020 (34,900 jobs, 4.6 percent), followed by Florida (21,500 jobs, 3.9 percent) and California (17,400 jobs, 2.0 percent). 

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia shed construction jobs between January 2019 and January 2020, while employment was flat in Kansas. Louisiana lost the most construction jobs (-15,200 jobs, -10.1 percent). 

New York added the most construction jobs between December and January (4,700 jobs, 1.2 percent), followed by Pennsylvania (4,400 jobs, 1.7 percent), Florida (3,600 jobs, 0.6 percent) and Maryland (3,500 jobs, 2.1 percent). 

Construction employment decreased from December to January in 16 states and was unchanged in Rhode Island, South Carolina and D.C. Washington state lost the largest number of construction jobs (-3,500 jobs, -1.6 percent), followed by California (-2,400 jobs, -0.3 percent).

Association officials cautioned that the coronavirus is likely to have a significant impact on construction employment and urged federal officials to take steps to mitigate the impact. Those measures should include fashioning a more realistic Family Medical Leave proposal that won’t force unnecessary layoff or bankruptcies.