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US adds more construction jobs despite decline in house-building

US adds more construction jobs despite decline in house-building

Analysis of federal employment data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) reveals that Texas and Montana topped the list of yearly gains, while West Virginia had the largest number of construction job losses

In addition, 42 states recorded an increase in construction employment between December 2022 and January 2023 with Indiana and Iowa leading the monthly job increases. California and West Virginia recorded the largest monthly drop in job numbers.

Association officials said the job gains were welcome news but noted the industry would probably have added more jobs if the pool of available workers were larger.

“The construction industry has been adding jobs nearly everywhere in the past year even as home-building slowed,” said AGC chief economist Ken Simonson. “Most non-residential contractors continue to report little let-up in demand and would like to hire even more workers if they were available.”

Texas added the most jobs over the year (34,800 jobs, an increase of 4.6%), followed by Florida (23,600 jobs, 4%), New York (21,900 jobs, 5.7%) and Tennessee (14,000 jobs, 9.9%).

Montana had the largest percentage increase (12.7% and 4,400 jobs), followed by Nebraska (10.1%, 5,800 jobs), Rhode Island (10.1%, 2,100 jobs) and Nevada (10%, 10,200 jobs).

Meanwhile, construction employment declined in four states and the District of Columbia last year. West Virginia lost the most construction jobs (-1,600 jobs, -4.8%), followed by Mississippi (-900 jobs, -1.9%).

Employment was flat in North Dakota.

For the month of January 2023, 42 states increased construction employment, seven states saw employment fall and Mississippi and the District of Columbia held steady.

Indiana added the most jobs over the month (6,700 jobs, 4.2%), followed by Texas (5,900 jobs, 0.7%), New Jersey (4,000 jobs, 2.5%), Iowa (3,900 jobs, 4.7%) and North Carolina (3,900 jobs, 1.5%). The largest percentage gain occurred in Iowa, followed by Indiana, Montana (4%, 1,500 jobs), Kansas (3%, 2,000 jobs), and Idaho (2.7%, 1,800 jobs).

California, buffeted by a series of severe storms, experienced the largest decline in construction jobs in January (-7,300 jobs, -1.8%). Large one-month losses also occurred in Florida (-2,400 jobs, -0.4%) and Colorado (-1,200 jobs, -0.6%). West Virginia had the largest percentage loss for the month (-1.8%, -600 jobs), followed by California, Colorado, and Maine (-0.6%, -200 jobs).

One of the biggest challenges to recruiting more workers into the industry is that relatively few people have been exposed to construction as a career opportunity, said the AGC. It noted that federal officials only spend 20 cents on career and technical education for every dollar they spend encouraging students to go to college.

AGC chief executive Stephen Sandherr said: “If we expose more people to construction career opportunities, many are likely to say they would prefer high pay, teamwork and the satisfaction of building projects that will last for decades over spending their time hunched over Zoom meetings.

“Federal officials talk about the need to rebuild our country, but they don’t seem willing to invest in new builders,” added Sandherr.

Got a story? Email news@theconstructionindex.co.uk

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David Carroll

David Carroll is a Journalist at Flaunt Weekly.

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