Construction employment increased in 34 states and the District of Columbia in November from a year earlier, while 28 states added construction jobs from October to November, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America on Dec. 22. Association officials noted that fewer states added construction jobs in November than other recent months, but contractors are mostly upbeat about 2024.

“The number of states with construction job gains has been shrinking as apartment and office projects wind down,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “But contractors are optimistic about demand for infrastructure and federal projects in 2024, while homebuilding is starting to revive in many states.”

Between November 2022 and 2023, 34 states and Washington, D.C. added construction jobs, while industry employment declined in 14 states and held steady in Alaska and West Virginia. Texas added the most construction employees over the year (35,700 jobs, or 4.5 percent), followed by California (33,800 jobs, 3.7 percent), Florida (13,700, 2.2 percent), Kentucky (12,000 jobs, 14.5 percent) and Ohio (10,500 jobs, 4.4 percent). Kentucky had the largest percentage increase over 12 months, followed by Arkansas (12 percent, 7,000 jobs), South Dakota (11.2 percent, 2,900 jobs) and Wyoming (7.5 percent, 1,600 jobs).

New York lost the most construction jobs between November 2022 and 2023 (-6,300 jobs, -1.6 percent), followed by Missouri (-4,700 jobs, -3.4 percent), Washington (-4,600 jobs, -1.9 percent) and Colorado (-4,400 jobs, -2.4 percent). North Dakota had the largest percentage loss (-8.2 percent, -2,200 jobs), followed by Missouri, Hawaii (-2.6 percent, -1,000 jobs) and Vermont (-2.6 percent, -400 jobs).

For the month, construction employment increased in 28 states, declined in 19 states and Washington, D.C., and was unchanged in Alaska, Georgia and Louisiana. Texas added the most jobs over the month (9,200 jobs, 1.1 percent), followed by California (6,500 jobs, 0.7 percent), Florida (6,300 jobs, 1 percent), Arizona (2,700 jobs, 1.3 percent) and Nevada (2,700 jobs, 2.4 percent). The largest percentage gain occurred in Oklahoma (2.7 percent, 2,300 jobs), followed by Nevada and Iowa (2.2 percent, 1,800 jobs).

New York lost the most construction jobs in November (-5,200 jobs, -1.3 percent), followed by Ohio (-3,900 jobs, -1.5 percent), Michigan (-2,500 jobs, -1.3 percent) and New Jersey (-2,400 jobs, -1.5 percent). The largest percentage loss occurred in Ohio and New Jersey, followed by New York, Michigan and Oregon (-1.3 percent, -1,700 jobs).

Association officials said many contractors are worried about being able to find enough people to keep pace with demand. They urged public officials to boost funding for construction education and training programs and to allow more people to legally enter the country to work in construction.

“Too few new workers are ever exposed to construction as a career opportunity,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Boosting funding for construction education and training will expose more students to career opportunities in construction.”