AGC: Construction Employment Increases, 33 States Add Jobs

National – Forty-four states added construction jobs between January 2018 and January 2019, while 33 states added construction jobs between December and January, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data just released.

Nearly four out of five construction firms expect to add employees in 2019, based on the 2019 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook Survey the association conducted with Sage and released on January 2. At the same time, 78 percent of the survey’s 1,312 respondents said their firm was having a hard time filling positions, and two-thirds of the respondents reported they expect it will be as hard or harder to hire workers in 2019.

California added the most construction jobs over the year (28,500 jobs, 3.4 percent), followed by Florida (26,600 jobs, 5.1 percent), Texas (24,700 jobs, 3.4 percent), West Virginia (17,500 jobs, 51.6 percent), New York (16,400 jobs, 4.2 percent) and Arizona (15,800 jobs, 10.3 percent). West Virginia added the highest percentage of construction jobs over 12 months, followed by Nevada (12.9 percent, 11,100 jobs), Connecticut (11.0 percent, 6,300 jobs) and Arizona. Construction employment reached a record high in six states: Colorado, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia.

Six states and the District of Columbia shed construction jobs over the latest 12 months. The largest decline occurred in South Carolina (-3,900 jobs, -3.8 percent), followed by Louisiana (-1,600 jobs, -1.1 percent) and Maine (-1,300 jobs, -4.5 percent).

Association officials said that the widespread job increases may not be sustainable unless more potential workers have the chance to learn construction skills. They called on federal officials to double investments in career and technical education programs to expose more high school students to construction opportunities.