Construction firms added jobs in 45 states and the District of Columbia between February 2014 and February 2015 while construction employment increased in 33 states between January and February, according to an analysis today of Labor Department data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that growing labor, funding and regulatory challenges may impact future jobs gains, however.
"Construction employment continues to recover in many parts of the country even as some markets have a hard time stabilizing," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "States like Nevada and Mississippi continue to experience significant monthly swings in construction employment as the recovery struggles to take hold in certain hard hit markets."
Texas added more new construction jobs (44,600 jobs, 7 percent) between February 2014 and February 2015 than any other state. Other states adding a high number of new construction jobs for the past 12 months included California (43,400 jobs, 6.5 percent), Florida (29,600 jobs, 7.7 percent), Washington (18,000 jobs, 11.6 percent) and Colorado (16,900 jobs, 12.3 percent). North Dakota (14.7 percent, 4,800 jobs) added the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year, followed by Idaho (14.3 percent, 5,000 jobs), Colorado and Washington.
Four states shed construction jobs during the past 12 months while construction employment was unchanged in Delaware. Mississippi lost the highest percentage and total number of jobs (-4,400 jobs, -8.7 percent). The other states that lost construction jobs for the year were Indiana (-1,500 jobs, -1.2 percent), West Virginia (-700 jobs, -2.1 percent) and Maine (-300 jobs, -1.2 percent.)
Thirty-three states added construction jobs between January and February. California (11,200 jobs, 1.6 percent) added the most jobs, followed by Colorado (3,900 jobs, 2.6 percent), North Carolina (3,900 jobs, 2.1 percent) and Ohio (2,900 jobs, 1.5 percent). Mississippi (3.1 percent, 1,400 jobs) had the highest percentage increase for the month, followed by North Dakota (3 percent, 1,100 jobs), South Carolina (3 percent, 2,500 jobs) and Colorado.
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia lost construction jobs for the month. New York (-3,800 jobs, -1.1 percent) lost the most construction jobs between January and February. Other states experiencing large monthly declines in total construction employment included Pennsylvania (-2,500 jobs, -1.1 percent), Maryland (-1,500 jobs, -1 percent), Nevada (-1,300 jobs, -2percent) and Wisconsin (-1,300 jobs, -1.2 percent). Alaska (-3.8 percent, -700 jobs) lost the highest percent of construction jobs. Other states with large monthly declines in the percentage of construction employment included Rhode Island (-2.4 percent, -400 jobs), New Hampshire (-2 percent, -500 jobs) and Nevada.
Association officials said growing labor, regulatory and funding challenges could have a significant impact on the construction industry in the near future. Growing shortages of qualified construction workers are causing challenges for many employers. Meanwhile, flawed new regulatory measures and uncertainty about the future of federal funding for transportation and other infrastructure threaten the sector's recovery.
"Even as the construction industry continues to expand in most places, the sector remains vulnerable to the growing threats of labor shortages, funding challenges and expanding regulatory burdens," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's CEO.