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Construction jobs increase in 39 states over last year

Construction firms added jobs in 39 states and the District of Columbia over the past 12 months, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. The AGC also reports that construction jobs were added in 29 states and D.C. between March and April 2014.

Association officials welcomed the mostly positive figures but cautioned that the industry’s recovery remained fragile, with construction employment levels below prior peaks in every state except North Dakota.

“Growing demand for a range of construction services and better weather helped boost construction employment in most states in April,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “But we are still a long way away from getting back to the kind of employment levels the industry experienced nearly a decade ago.”

Florida led all states in both percentage and total construction gains with a 12.1% rise and 43,300 new jobs between April 2013 and April 2014. Other states adding a high percentage of new construction jobs for the past 12 months included North Dakota, Nevada, and Utah. After Florida, California added the most new construction jobs for the year (39,000 jobs), followed by Texas and Pennsylvania.

Ten states shed construction jobs during the past twelve months, while employment was unchanged in Wyoming. New Jersey lost the highest percent, -6.8%, and the most jobs, -9,300. Other states losing a high number of jobs included New Mexico, Alabama, and Virginia. After New Jersey, the states with the highest percentage decline in construction employment were New Mexico, West Virginia, and Alabama.

Association officials noted that recent Congressional action on vital infrastructure measures could help sustain the industry’s recovery. A Senate committee approved new surface transportation legislation that will make it easier for state and local officials to fund road, bridge, and transit construction projects. Meanwhile, a House-Senate conference committee released a final version of a Water Resources Reform & Development Act that will fund waterways, port, dam, and other important infrastructure projects once it becomes law.

“The industry’s recovery will remain on track if these two infrastructure measures continue to receive the kind of strong bipartisan support we saw this week,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “But if members of Congress really want to help the economy, they need to act quickly to make sure we don’t run out of federal road and bridge repair money by this summer, as the government predicts.”

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