Construction employment increased in a majority of states in May, setting all-time highs in Louisiana and North Dakota, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data.
“The strongest recoveries in construction employment have occurred in states with oil and gas activity, while the steepest construction job losses have occurred in Sunbelt states,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “However, patterns for the past year show that even some lagging states are beginning to add jobs.”
For the month, 27 states experienced a lift in construction employment, while 20 states and the District of Columbia lost construction jobs. South Dakota had the largest one-month percentage gain (4.1 percent, 800), followed by Vermont (3.7 percent, 500), Arizona (3.6 percent, 4,400), Iowa (3.5 percent, 2,200) and Missouri (3.5 percent, 3,600). Alaska had the steepest drop in construction employment from April to May (down 7.8 percent, down 1,400), followed by Nevada (down 4.2 percent, down 2,200). California lost the largest number of jobs between April and May (down 8,500, down 1.4 percent), followed by Florida (down 7,500, down 2.1 percent).
Over the past 12 months, 32 states added construction jobs, 17 states and D.C. lost jobs and Idaho had no change. Texas added the most jobs (39,200, 6.7 percent), and Montana had the highest year-over-year percentage drop (down 9.7 percent, down 2,300).
Association officials said the wide range of job gains and losses show the need to adequately fund infrastructure investments and remove regulatory barriers to private investment. They urged policy makers in Washington to move ahead with reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act and the Keystone XL pipeline, among many other projects.