Construction employment expanded in 20 states between October and November, while the list of states with year-over-year construction job gains grew to 13 states plus the District of Columbia, the Associated General Contractors of America reported in an analysis of state employment data released this week by the Labor Department.
“It is encouraging that the number of states adding jobs year-over-year was higher in November than at any time since February 2008,” said Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “However, the data also makes clear that these gains are as spotty as they are tenuous.”
As an example, Simonson noted, California had the largest monthly increase in construction employment — adding 7,800 jobs — but also the largest 12-month drop, 36,900 jobs or 6.4 percent. New Jersey and New York had the next-highest number of construction job gains in November with 4,500.
The largest year-over-year percentage gains occurred in Oklahoma (9.2 percent, 6,100 jobs), New Hampshire (6.7 percent, 1,500 jobs), and Kansas (4.7 percent, 2,700 jobs). Texas had the largest increase in the number of construction employees (13,400 jobs, 2.4 percent).
Association officials added that construction employment figures were likely to fluctuate over the coming months because many stimulus-funded projects were beginning to wind down and private-sector demand remained weak. They said newly passed legislation preventing tax increases, including small construction firms, could drive demand over the next year.