Thirty-nine states added construction jobs between January 2016 and January 2017 while 38 states and D.C. added construction jobs between December and January, according the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said that many firms report they are having a hard time finding enough qualified workers to hire as they work to keep pace with growing demand.
"Even as firms continue to find ways to expand their headcount, they are increasingly concerned about the lack of available, qualified workers," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the association. "There is only so much firms can do to attract the limited number of qualified workers before labor shortages begin to impact their operations."
Florida added the most construction jobs (36,400 jobs, 7.9%) during the past year. Other states adding a high number of new construction jobs for the past 12 months include California, Texas, Washington, and Oregon. Oregon also added the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year, followed by Idaho, Nevada, and Rhode Island.
Eleven states and the District of Columbia shed construction jobs between January 2016 and January 2017. Mississippi lost the highest number of construction jobs (-2,200 jobs, -4.8%) followed by Alaska, Illinois, and D.C. Alaska lost the highest percentage for the year followed by D.C., Wyoming, and Mississippi.
Florida (10,700 jobs, 2.2%) added the most construction jobs between December and January. Other states adding a high number of construction jobs include New York, Ohio, and Louisiana. Louisiana also added the highest percentage of construction jobs during the past month, followed by Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Indiana.
Construction employment declined in ten states during the past month and was unchanged in two others. California shed more construction jobs than any other state (-6,900 jobs, -0.9 %), followed by Colorado and Nebraska. Nebraska also lost the highest percentage of construction jobs between December and January, followed by Alaska, Colorado, and California.
Association officials once again urged federal leaders to act on a series of measures they outlined in recommendations to the Trump administration and Congress to bolster the supply of qualified workers even as they work to enact new measures to improve the nation's aging infrastructure. Those measures include boosting funding for career and technical education programs, making it easier for firms to set up regional training programs, and making Pell grants eligible for career and community college programs.
"The growth in construction demand is outstripping the growth in the supply of qualified construction workers," said Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer for the association. "Federal officials have a great opportunity to attract and prepare even more people for high-paying careers in construction that will cut unemployment and boost the economy."