Construction firms added jobs in 38 states over the past 12 months, although job gains leveled off between February and March, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said the ongoing year-over-year gains point to the urgency of revitalizing and initiating programs to encourage workers and graduating students to get construction careers.
“The widespread gains in employment from a year ago are encouraging, given the tough winter many states experienced right through March,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The never-ending winter of 2014 may account for the dip in the number of states that added construction jobs in the latest month, but it is also possible that single-family homebuilders are not adding workers as some forecasters expected.”
Florida again led all states in both percentage and total construction gains with an 11.5% rise and 41,000 new jobs between March 2013 and March 2014. Other states adding a high percentage of new construction jobs for the past 12 months included Oregon and Minnesota. After Florida, California added the most new construction jobs for the year, followed by Texas and Minnesota.
Eleven states and the District of Columbia shed construction jobs between March 2013 and March 2014, while employment was constant in Alaska. The largest number of losses occurred in New Jersey followed by Kentucky and West Virginia. West Virginia had the highest percentage decline in construction employment, followed by New Jersey and the District of Columbia.
Two dozen states and D.C. added jobs between February and March, led by Ohio, which rebounded from even greater job losses in the previous, winter-wracked month. North Dakota had the highest percentage increase for the month. Louisiana ranked second in the number and percentage of monthly job gains.
Association officials said that the construction industry is prepared to add many more workers but that training programs and other initiatives to draw workers into construction need to be beefed up. The association recently unveiled a multi-point workforce development plan to address these needs.
“With each passing month, it becomes clearer that contractors in most states are hiring both experienced and new workers,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “It is essential for federal, state, and local officials to clear roadblocks and adopt policies that will attract more workers into the industry.”
View the state employment data by state.