Forty-one states added construction jobs between June 2016 and June 2017 amid continuing widespread demand for construction services, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. AGC also reported that 25 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between May and June.
"Contractors in most of the country say they have plenty of projects booked and would like to hire more workers if they could find them, so it is likely that some states with monthly employment declines have a shortage of workers available to hire rather than a slowdown in work," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the association. "Given the low unemployment rate in most states, other industries are competing hard for workers, making it difficult for contractors to find new construction workers, let alone experienced ones."
California added the most construction jobs (46,500 jobs, 6%) during the past year. Other states adding a high number of new construction jobs for the past 12 months include Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and Oregon. Rhode Island added the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year (13.4%, 2,400 jobs), followed by Nevada, Oregon, and New Hampshire.
Eight states and the District of Columbia shed construction jobs between June 2016 and June 2017. The District lost the highest percentage for the year (-5.7%, -900 jobs), followed by Alaska, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Missouri. Missouri lost the largest number of construction jobs followed by Illinois, Mississippi, D.C., and South Dakota. Construction employment was unchanged over the year in Iowa.
Between May and June, California had the largest numerical increases (8,100 jobs, 1%), followed by Florida, New Jersey, Louisiana, Nevada, and Missouri. New Jersey had the largest percent gain for the month, followed by Louisiana, Nevada, West Virginia, and New Hampshire
Twenty-one states lost construction jobs between May and June. Georgia had the largest numerical loss (-4,000 jobs, -2.2%), followed by Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Wisconsin lost the highest percentage of construction jobs for the month, followed by Georgia and Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Wyoming. Construction employment was unchanged for the month in Arkansas, Maine, New Mexico, and North Dakota.
Association officials urged Washington officials to help address growing labor shortages in the construction industry by taking steps to expand training opportunities for students and young adults. Such steps include expanding investments in secondary career and technical education, making it easier to establish apprenticeship training programs in all market types, and allowing for more charter schools and career academies that focus on construction skills.
"The need for more craft workers in fields like construction is growing every month," said Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer for the association. "There is a correspondingly urgent need to put in place measures that can expand training opportunities for people considering careers in construction."