The Associated General Contractors of America’s analysis of the most recent federal employment data shows 43 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs during the past 12 months. Momentum, however, slowed in May with only 22 states adding jobs. Association officials said the monthly employment gains lagged in May as contractors continue to cope with labor shortages and supply chain challenges.
“Demand for construction appears to be outpacing the availability of workers and materials in many parts of the country,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Contractors can’t add jobs if they don’t have workers to hire or supplies to install on projects.”
Between May 2021 and May 2022, the states with the most increase in construction employment were Texas, which added 54,600 jobs (7.5 percent), followed by California (27,800 jobs, 3.1 percent) and Tennessee (14,200 jobs, 10.6 percent). New Mexico had the largest percentage gain (12.8 percent, 6,000 jobs), followed by Tennessee and Rhode Island (10.2 percent, 2,000 jobs).
In that same 12-month period, construction employment declined in seven states. Kentucky shed the most construction jobs over 12 months (-2,300 jobs, -2.9 percent), followed by Arkansas (-2,000 jobs, -3.6 percent) and Hawaii (-1,600 jobs, -4.3 percent). The largest percentage losses were in Hawaii, Arkansas and Kentucky.
In May, only 22 states added construction jobs, 25 states lost jobs, and there was no change in three states and the District of Columbia. Texas added the most construction jobs over the month (10,600 jobs, 1.4 percent), followed by California (7,100 jobs, 0.8 percent) and Minnesota (4,100 jobs, 3.2 percent). Minnesota had the largest percentage gain, followed by Tennessee (1.8 percent, 2,600 jobs) and Texas.
New York lost the most construction jobs last month (-5,100 jobs, -1.3 percent), followed by Florida (-4,000 jobs, -0.7 percent) and Ohio (-3,700 jobs, -1.6 percent). North Dakota (-3.0 percent, -800 jobs) and Wyoming (-3.0 percent, -700 jobs) had the largest percentage losses, followed by Iowa (-2.6 percent, -2,100 jobs).
Association officials urged public leaders to continue investing in programs to inform and prepare workers about high-paying construction career opportunities. They said too few students and workers are even aware of the many opportunities that exist in the construction industry. And they pushed the Biden administration to remove remaining tariffs on construction materials and do more to ease supply chain challenges impacting the availability of many different types of construction materials.
“Contractors need people and products to build projects, and the supply of both is very constrained right now,” said Sandherr. “Exposing more workers to high-paying construction career opportunities and fixing the supply chain will help put more people to work in the industry.”