Construction jobs were added in half the states in August, while the number of states with year-over-year job gains rose to 10 from just six in July, the Associated General Contractors reported in an analysis of state employment data released Sept. 21 by the Labor Department.
The number of states that increased construction employment over 12 months was the largest since October 2008.
“National construction employment has been flat since March, and more areas have seen an upturn in employment, while job losses in the remaining states are less severe than previously,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist of the construction trade association. “But the gains may be fleeting unless Congress and the Administration enact long-term infrastructure funding bills before the current stimulus funds are exhausted.”
Simonson noted that the largest year-over-year increase was in New Hampshire, where construction employment rose 9.6 percent (2,100 jobs), followed by Oklahoma (9.5 percent, 6,300 jobs); Kansas (4,600 jobs, 8.1 percent); District of Columbia (3.7 percent, 400 jobs); and Arkansas (3.5 percent, 1,800 jobs).
The largest percentage job decrease compared to August 2009 was in Nevada, 19.6 percent (14,700 jobs), followed by Vermont (14.1 percent; 1,900 jobs); Idaho (13.1 percent, 4,300 jobs); and Colorado (12.2 percent, 15,300 jobs).
California again lost the most jobs since August 2009 (44,700 or 7.6 percent), and also over the last month, losing 3,900 jobs, a 0.7 percent decline. Illinois gained the most jobs in August with 14,200 new jobs, or a 7.7 percent increase, due in part to the end of a strike.
Illinois gains were followed by Rhode Island (900 jobs, or 5.6 percent increase); and Oklahoma (2,700 jobs, 3.8 percent increase). Meanwhile, Alaska had the largest monthly decline, losing 1,100 jobs, or 6.7 percent, followed by New Mexico (1,700 jobs, 3.8 percent) and Minnesota (2,500, 3.0 percent).
“AGC urges Congress and the White House to finish work on long-term transportation and water infrastructure spending bills, and keep income tax rates from soaring to help the construction industry employment recover from millions of lost jobs,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.