National – Forty-three states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between December 2017 and December 2018, while 36 states added construction jobs between November and December, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data released recently.
Association officials cautioned that growing labor shortages and trade disputes were leading to higher construction costs.
Nearly four out of five construction firms expect to add employees in 2019, based on the 2019 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook Survey that 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.
Texas added the most construction jobs in 2018 (46,800 jobs, 6.4 percent). Other states adding a large number of construction jobs in 2018 include Florida (34,900 jobs, 6.7 percent), California (21,700 jobs, 2.6 percent), Georgia (21,500 jobs, 11.3 percent) and Arizona (18,900 jobs, 12.5 percent). Connecticut added the highest percentage of construction jobs in 2018 (16.9 percent, 9,700 jobs), followed by Wyoming (14.9 percent, 2,900 jobs), Arizona, Nevada (12.3 percent, 10,600 jobs), North Dakota (11.6 percent, 2,900 jobs) and Georgia. Construction employment reached a record high in five states: Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas.
Six states shed construction jobs in 2018, while construction employment was unchanged in Mississippi. The largest decline occurred in South Carolina, Hawaii, Missouri, Alaska and Maine.
Association officials said the higher cost of projects could dampen future private and public sector demand. They urged Washington officials to increase funding for career and technical education and to quickly resolve trade disputes.