Steel Products

June Construction Employment Grows in Nearly Every State

Written by Sandy Williams

Construction jobs increased in 32 states and the District of Columbia from May to June, and in 43 states and D.C. between June 2017 and June 2018, according to an analysis of Labor Department data by the Associated General Contractors of America.

“Construction is proving to be a reliable source of employment growth in nearly every state, and contractors are eager to hire even more workers,” said chief economist Ken Simonson. “But finding qualified workers remains a significant challenge as other industries compete for talent, more workers reach retirement age, and fewer young adults chose to pursue careers in construction.”

Association officials said that job gains mask the difficulty contractors face in finding workers with appropriate skills. AGC officials urge federal agencies and Congress to enact a new Perkins Act that increases funding and makes it easier for education officials to craft construction-focused education programs.

“Contractors are eager to help prepare more workers for rewarding construction careers,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “The more students and young adults can learn about careers in construction, the more they will choose to pursue high-paying careers in the field.”

At a White House event on July 19, President Trump signed an executive order to establish a “National Council for the American Worker” charged with developing a national strategy for training and retraining the workers needed for high demand industries.  The Council will develop a campaign to raise awareness of workforce issues such as the current skills crisis and importance of STEM education

More than 20 companies and associations in attendance signed a “Pledge to America’s Workers” to create new opportunities for American students and workers, including apprenticeships and work-based learning, continuing education, on-the-job training and reskilling.

The breakdown of construction job growth by AGC follows:

Texas added the most construction jobs during the past year (42,900 jobs, 6.0 percent). Other states adding a large number of new construction jobs for the past 12 months include California (39,800 jobs, 4.9 percent), Florida (29,300 jobs, 5.8 percent), Georgia (16,100 jobs, 8.8 percent), Arizona (14,800 jobs, 10.2 percent) and Michigan (13,200 jobs, 8.1 percent). Arizona, Georgia and Michigan added the highest percentages of new construction jobs during the past year, followed by Nevada (7.6 percent, 6,400 jobs) and Oregon (7.5 percent, 7,300 jobs). Construction employment reached a record high in Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York and Texas.

Only six states shed construction jobs between June 2017 and 2018, while construction employment was unchanged in Hawaii. New Jersey lost the most jobs (-4,800 jobs, -3.1 percent), followed by South Carolina (-4,000 jobs, -3.9 percent) and Missouri (-1,900 jobs, -1.5 percent). The largest percentage loss occurred in South Carolina, followed by New Jersey, Missouri, Kentucky (-0.5 percent, -400 jobs), Oklahoma (-0.4 percent, -300 jobs) and North Dakota (-100 jobs, -0.4 percent).

New York had the largest one-month job gain (3,700 jobs, 0.9 percent) among the 32 states and D.C. that added construction jobs between May and June, followed by Arizona (3,100 jobs, 2.0 percent), Texas (2,900 jobs, 0.4 percent) and Massachusetts (2,300 jobs, 1.4 percent). North Dakota added the highest percentage of construction jobs for the month (3.7 percent, 900 jobs), followed by Arizona, Arkansas (2.0 percent, 1,000 jobs), Connecticut (2.0 percent, 1,200 jobs) and Wyoming (2.0 percent, 400 jobs).

Thirteen states lost construction jobs from May to June, while construction employment was unchanged in five states: Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, New Hampshire and South Dakota. California lost the most construction jobs in June (-2,900, -0.3 percent), followed by Ohio (-2,600 jobs, -1.2 percent), Washington (-2,200 jobs, -1.1 percent), Pennsylvania (1,900 jobs, -0.7 percent) and South Carolina (-1,600 jobs, -1.6 percent). West Virginia lost the highest percentage of construction jobs for the month (-2.1 percent, -700 jobs), followed by South Carolina and Ohio.

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