(AGC) Construction employment climbed in 30 states and the District of Columbia from November to December and 42 states added construction jobs during the past 12 months, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said demand for many types of commercial construction projects remain strong and that firms would likely have added more people if they could find workers.
“Construction employment growth was less widespread in December than in some recent months as homebuilding slowed,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist and occasional economic contributor for tED magazine. “But most nonresidential contractors continue to report strong demand and that they would like to add more workers than are available.”
In December, 30 states and D.C. added construction employees, while industry employment declined in 20 states. California added the most construction jobs over the month (7,500 jobs, 0.8 percent), followed by New York (6,400 jobs, 1.7 percent), Pennsylvania (4,600 jobs, 1.8 percent), Louisiana (3,300 jobs, 2.6 percent), and Florida (3,300 jobs, 0.5 percent). The largest percentage gain occurred in Louisiana, followed by Arkansas (1.8 percent, 1,000 jobs), Pennsylvania, Rhode Island (1.7 percent, 400 jobs), and New York.
Missouri experienced the largest decline in construction jobs in December (-4,400 jobs, -3.0 percent), followed by Washington (-3,700 jobs, -1.6 percent), New Jersey (-3,400 jobs, -2.2 percent), and Minnesota (-2,600 jobs, -2.0 percent). North Dakota had the largest percentage loss for the month (-6.4 percent, -1,900 jobs), followed by Missouri and Alaska (-2.8 percent, -500 jobs).
In 2022, 40 states added construction jobs, while industry employment declined in nine states and D.C. Employment was flat in Iowa. California added the most jobs over the year (41,100 jobs, 4.6 percent), followed by Florida (25,500 jobs, 4.4 percent), Texas (18,300 jobs, 2.4 percent), New York (13,100 jobs, 3.5 percent), Tennessee (12,900 jobs, 9.2 percent), and Utah (12,900 jobs, 10.4 percent). Rhode Island had the largest percentage increase (17.3 percent, 3,500 jobs), followed by Nevada (13.4 percent, 12,800 jobs), Nebraska (10.9 percent, 6,100 jobs), Utah, and Tennessee. New Jersey lost the largest number and percentage of construction jobs over 12 months (-8,900 jobs, -5.5 percent), followed by South Carolina (-4,900 jobs, -4.7 percent).
Association officials said labor shortages in the industry remain a challenge for most firms. They urged Congress and the Biden administration to reform the immigration system to allow more people with construction skills to work in the industry. They also called for more funding for construction education and training programs.
“Investing in construction workforce development is one of the most effective ways to expand the middle class and create greater economic opportunity,” said Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Unfortunately, most federal education funding today goes to encouraging people to go to college and enter the service sector instead of preparing for careers in fields like construction.”AGC, construction