Construction firms added jobs in 43 states and the District of Columbia between January 2014 and January 2015, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. The AGC also reported that construction employment increased in 31 states between December and January. Association officials noted that further construction gains could be undermined if Congress and the administration fail to address infrastructure funding challenges and growing regulatory burdens.
"Most of the country experienced a welcome rebound in construction employment last year," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "Yet it is unclear how public sector demand and new regulatory requirements will overshadow relatively robust private-sector demand."
Texas added more new construction jobs (49,600 jobs, 7.9%) between January 2014 and January 2015 than any other state. Other states adding a high number of new construction jobs for the past 12 months included California, Florida, Washington, and New York. North Dakota (13.4%, 4,300 jobs) added the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year, followed by Idaho, Washington, and Colorado.
Seven states shed construction jobs during the past 12 months. Mississippi lost the highest percentage and total number of jobs (-6,600 jobs, -12.7%). Other states that lost a high number of jobs include Indiana, West Virginia, Minnesota, and Maine.
Thirty-one states added construction jobs between December and January. California (11,700 jobs, 1.7%) added the most jobs, followed by New Jersey, Michigan, and Florida. Arkansas (4.9%, 2,300 jobs) had the highest percentage increase for the month, followed by Vermont, Idaho, and New Jersey.
Nineteen states lost construction jobs for the month, while construction employment was unchanged in the District of Columbia. Louisiana (-4,100 jobs, -2.8%) lost the highest percentage and the most construction jobs between December and January. Other states experiencing large monthly declines in total construction employment included Indiana, Georgia, and Illinois. Other states with large monthly declines in the percentage of construction employment included Maine and Wyoming.
Association officials said they were worried about the Obama administration's efforts to issue a host of new regulations during the remainder of the President's term. They noted that many of these rules do little to address the problems they were ostensibly intended to address while adding costly new paperwork and reporting requirements for employers. Coupled with Washington’s seeming inability to find ways to fund aging road, bridge and other infrastructure repairs, officials warned growing red tape could undermine future employment gains.
"If Congress and the Obama administration are serious about wanting to help the middle class, they will need to find a way to fund infrastructure investments over the long term," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer. "And the administration needs to stop trying to impose its failed legislative agenda via regulatory fiat."
To view employment data by state, go here.