Construction employment increases in 40 states, DC over past year

Ken Simonson
Ken Simonson
A recently-released analysis of Labor Department data conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America revealed that between May 2014 and May 2015 construction firm employment increased in 40 states and the District of Columbia as well as in 28 states and D.C. between April and May.

“Construction has outpaced the overall economy in adding workers nationally but the mix of states with construction job gains keeps changing,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The top 10 states for job gains from April to May had previously lagged in adding construction workers, while energy-producing and other states that had record construction employment a few months ago have slipped.”

The state adding the most construction jobs between May 2014 and May 2015 was California. Other states adding a significant number of new construction jobs during that period were Florida, Texas, Washington and North Carolina.

The highest percentage of new construction jobs were added in Idaho, followed by Washington, Michigan and North Carolina.

The state that lost the most construction jobs - 4,200 - was West Virginia, followed by Mississippi, Rhode Island, Maine and Ohio. The most job losses happened in Ohio, West Virginia and Mississippi.

“Although most states are adding construction workers, only five have exceeded pre-recession employment peaks, and all five slipped in May,” Simonson observed. “This shows that the industry’s recovery remains vulnerable to a downturn in government investment in infrastructure as well as market forces.”

States that set recent construction employment records include South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Louisiana and Oklahoma; steepest monthly losses occurred in Wyoming and Wisconsin.

“We are likely to see a lot more stability in construction employment once Washington finds a way to finance needed infrastructure projects,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.