Construction firms added jobs in 34 states over the past 12 months, but construction employment declined in 32 states and the District of Columbia between November and December as many parts of the country coped with weather, according to an analysis released yesterday by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data.
“While the year-over-year numbers are encouraging, we want to make sure the monthly declines are more about the weather than they are a sudden downturn in demand,” says Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “While we will have to wait for more data to understand where the market is heading, the industry could certainly benefit from more private-sector activity and public-sector investments.”
Mississippi led all states with an 18-percent rise (8,500 jobs) in construction employment between December 2012 and December 2013. The state ranked 18th out of 50 states plus Washington, D.C., between November and December, with no net gain or loss. Conversely, South Dakota topped the monthly rankings, adding 3.4 percent (700 construction jobs), and added 4.9 percent (1,100 jobs) over 12 months. On the other hand, Indiana (-4.5 percent, -5,500 jobs) and D.C. (-5.1 percent, -700 jobs) had the steepest 12-month declines, according to the report.
States with strong 12-month percentage gains besides Mississippi included Connecticut (11.6 percent, 5,800 jobs), Florida (8.4 percent, 28,800 jobs) and Wyoming (8.3 percent, 1,800 jobs). California added the most jobs over the year (28,900, 4.8 percent), followed by Florida, Texas (13,500, 2.3 percent), Georgia (9,900, 7.1 percent) and Mississippi.
A total of 15 states plus Washington, D.C., shed construction jobs between December 2012 and December 2013, while employment was constant in Nebraska. The largest number of losses occurred in Pennsylvania (-7,600, -3.3 percent), followed by Indiana, North Carolina (-3,700, -2.2 percent) and New Jersey (-3,300, -2.5 percent).