Construction firms added jobs in 38 states and the District of Columbia between November 2013 and November 2014 while construction employment increased in 26 states and D.C. between October and November, according to an analysis Friday of Labor Department data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that the list of states gaining jobs has varied significantly from month to month as the market remains extremely variable.
"Construction job growth remains positive overall but volatile," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "Although more than three-quarters of states have added construction jobs from year-earlier levels throughout 2014, the list of states with gains keeps changing. Only North Dakota, Louisiana and Oklahoma have exceeded their pre-recession peaks for construction employment this year, while most states are still at least 10 percent below previous highs."
Texas added more new construction jobs (47,300 jobs, 7.7 percent) between November 2013 and November 2014 than any other state. Other states adding a high number of new construction jobs for the past 12 months included California (40,800 jobs, 6.3 percent), Florida (34,900 jobs, 9.1 percent), Washington (12,800 jobs, 8.6 percent) and Illinois (12,000 jobs, 6.2 percent). North Dakota (16.2 percent, 5,300 jobs) added the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year, followed by Utah (10.1 percent, 7,600 jobs), Florida, Washington and Arkansas (8.4 percent, 3,900 jobs).
Twelve states shed construction jobs during the past twelve months, with West Virginia losing the highest percentage (-11.3 percent, -3,800 jobs). Other states that lost a high percentage of jobs include Mississippi (-7.9 percent, -4,200 jobs), New Jersey (-4.5 percent, -6,200 jobs) and Nebraska (-4.1 percent, -1,900 jobs). New Jersey shed the most construction jobs. Other states that lost the most construction jobs between November 2013 and November 2014 include Arizona (-4,600 jobs, -3.7 percent), Mississippi, West Virginia and Kentucky (-2,400 jobs, -3.6 percent).
Twenty-six states and D.C. added construction jobs between October and November. California (12,900 jobs, 1.9 percent) added the most jobs, followed by New Jersey (5,200 jobs, 4.2 percent), Washington (3,300 jobs, 2.1 percent) and Wisconsin (2,400 jobs, 2.3 percent). Vermont (8.1 percent, 1,100 jobs) had the highest percentage increase for the month, followed by Alaska (5.0 percent, 800 jobs), New Jersey and New Hampshire (3.6 percent, 800 jobs).
Twenty-four states lost construction jobs for the month, while construction employment was unchanged in Idaho and Missouri. New York (-4,100 jobs, -1.3 percent) lost the most construction jobs between October and November. Other states experiencing large monthly declines in total construction employment included Minnesota (-3,500 jobs, -3.1 percent), Louisiana (-3,000 jobs, -2.1 percent) and Georgia (-2,300 jobs, -1.5 percent). West Virginia (-6.0 percent, -1,900 jobs) experienced the highest monthly percentage decline, followed by Wyoming (-5.0 percent, -1,100 jobs), South Dakota (-4.5 percent, -1,000 jobs) and Minnesota.
Association officials said the best way to ensure more stability in the construction market was for Congress and the Obama administration to work together to fund needed repairs to aging roads, transit, clean water and other infrastructure systems. "Investing in infrastructure will keep our economy vibrant while providing needed consistency to a construction sector that is experiencing a mild and inconsistent recovery," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer.