Construction firms added jobs in 39 states between September 2013 and September 2014, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. The AGC also found that construction employment increased in 34 states and the District of Columbia between August and September. Association officials noted that the construction job gains come as more construction firms report having a hard time finding qualified workers to fill key positions.
“Construction firms in most states have been expanding during the past year,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “But as those firms expand, they have to work harder to attract their skilled craft workers and key construction professionals.”
Florida added the most construction jobs of any state (41,900 jobs, 11.2%) between September 2013 and September 2014. Other states adding a high number of new construction jobs for the past 12 months included California, Texas, Illinois, and Louisiana. Nevada (12.8%, 7,300 jobs) added the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year, followed by Delaware, Florida, Utah, and North Dakota.
Ten states shed construction jobs during the past 12 months, with construction employment unchanged in D.C. and New Mexico. The largest percentage and total losses occurred in New Jersey, Arizona, and West Virginia.
Thirty-four states and D.C. added construction jobs between August and September. Texas (5,400 jobs, 0.8%) added the most jobs, followed by California, Michigan, and Washington. Mississippi (3.9%, 1,900 jobs) had the highest percentage increase for the month, followed by Hawaii, Michigan, and Iowa.
Fifteen states lost construction jobs for the month, while construction employment was unchanged in Wyoming. Pennsylvania (-5,000 jobs, -2.1%) lost the most construction jobs between August and September. Other states experiencing large monthly declines in total construction employment included Arizona, Virginia, and Maryland. Maine (-3.7%, -1,000 jobs) experienced the highest monthly percentage decline, followed by New Hampshire, Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Association officials said the new employment figures show that the industry continues to add new workers after its years-long downturn. But they cautioned that more and more firms are reporting labor shortages. They added that the association will release the results of a new, nationwide, construction workforce survey that measures the extent of worker shortages, their impact on firms' operations, and some of the causes of the worker shortages.
"Hard as it is to imagine, given what this industry has been through the past few years, but many firms are very worried about their ability to find, recruit, and retain qualified workers as the industry continues to rebound," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer.
View employment data by state.