Construction employment rose in 28 states and the District of Columbia between January 2011 and January 2012, while 20 states lost construction jobs and two held steady-the best net positive showing for state construction employment since 2007, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data.
Thirty-five states and D.C. added construction jobs between
December 2011 and January, while 13 states had decreases for the month and two
states had no change.
“There is accumulating evidence that construction has passed
its low point in a majority of states, although shrinking public construction
will hold down the improvement in many locations,” said Ken Simonson, the
association’s chief economist. “Moreover, the gains this January partly reflect
very mild weather this winter and exceptionally cold and snowy conditions a
Simonson noted that Pennsylvania (13,000, 6.0 percent) added
the most construction jobs between January 2011 and 2012, while North Dakota
had the largest percentage gain (16.1 percent, 3,600 jobs). Tennessee was
second in both total and percent gains (12,500, 12.0 percent).
The economist said that among the 20 states that lost
construction jobs during the past year, Florida (-21,500, -6.3 percent) lost
the most, followed by Illinois (-9,500, -4.8 percent). Alabama (-9.0 percent,
-7,300) lost the highest percentage, followed by Nevada (-8.1 percent, -4,800).
Simonson added that construction employment remained unchanged for the year in
Maine and Nebraska.
California (8,900, 1.6 percent) added the most construction
jobs between December 2011 and January 2012, followed by Texas (8,300, 1.5
percent). Connecticut (6.3 percent, 3,100) experienced the highest percentage
increase in construction employment, followed by Kansas (5.8 percent, 3,100).
Thirteen states lost construction jobs for the month, led by
Florida (-6,200, -1.9 percent) and followed by New York (-5,200, -1.7 percent).
Meanwhile, Rhode Island (-5.5 percent, -900) lost the highest percentage of
construction jobs between December and January. Indiana and Wyoming experienced
no change in construction employment for the month, Simonson added.
Association officials said the improving construction
employment data was welcome news, and added that they were working hard to make
sure the trend continues. They noted they were working to get Congress to act
on a number of long-delayed infrastructure measures, including the surface
transportation bill and to set long-term tax rates that impact many of the
"Even as the private sector continues to build steam,
we want to make sure federal actions, and inactions, don't hold the
construction industry back," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's
chief executive officer. “Setting infrastructure investments levels and
establishing some kind of tax certainty would complement the growing private
sector demand for construction and help put even more people back to work."