2017 big for U.S. construction job growth

ARLINGTON, VA. — Forty-two U.S. states added construction jobs between December 2016 and December 2017, while 32 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between November and December, according to analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data released Jan. 23.

“Construction employment is expanding in many parts of the country in large part because of strong private-sector demand,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, in a statement. “Any new public-sector investments, particularly for infrastructure projects, would help accelerate job gains in many parts of the country.”

California added the most construction jobs (56,000 jobs, 7.1 per cent) during the past year. Other states adding a high number of new construction jobs for the past 12 months include Florida (43,900 jobs, 9.1 per cent); Texas (27,900 jobs, 4.0 per cent); Pennsylvania (13,100 jobs, 5.4 per cent) and Washington (11,500 jobs, 6.0 per cent).

Nevada (12.8 per cent, 10,400 jobs) added the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year, followed by Rhode Island (11.3 per cent, 2,100 jobs); Oklahoma (10.7 per cent, 8,200 jobs); Oregon (10.5 per cent, 10,000 jobs) and Alaska (9.7 per cent, 1,500 jobs).

Eight states shed construction jobs between December 2016 and December 2017, while construction employment was unchanged in the District of Columbia.

Missouri lost the highest number of construction jobs (-8,800 jobs, -7.2 per cent), followed by Iowa (-7,500 jobs, -9.2 per cent); North Carolina (-2,100 jobs, -1.0 per cent) and Connecticut (-1,900 jobs, -3.3 per cent). Iowa lost the highest percentage for the year, followed by Missouri; North Dakota (-4.1 per cent, -1,300 jobs); Connecticut and Nebraska (-1.2 per cent, -600 jobs).

The statement noted that according to a sector survey the association released earlier this month, many firms appear to be counting on new federal infrastructure funding as they plan to expand headcount this year.

“Many construction firms are counting on the president to deliver on his promise to boost infrastructure funding,” said Stephen Sandherr, CEO for the association. “Passing a new infrastructure measure will support more job growth where construction firms are already hiring and help reverse declines in the states where employment is falling.”

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