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Construction jobs increase in 36 states plus DC in March from year earlier: AGC

Design and Construction Report staff writer

Construction employment increased in 39 states in March from a year earlier, while 36 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between February and March, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America on April 19. Association officials hailed widespread gains in construction jobs, but warned that a dearth of available workers may imperil timely completion of many projects.

“Most states have experienced no letup in demand for construction projects, as these numbers reveal,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “In fact, even more states would have posted an increase in construction employment if contractors could find enough qualified workers.”

Between March 2023 and March 2024, 39 states added construction jobs, 10 states and the District of Columbia shed jobs, and employment was unchanged in Vermont. California added the most construction employees (33,900 jobs, 3.8 percent), followed by Texas (28,600 jobs, 3.5 percent) and Florida (23,000 jobs, 3.7 percent). Alaska had the largest percentage increase over 12 months (16.2 percent, 2,700 jobs), followed by South Dakota (10.9 percent, 3,000 jobs), and Arkansas (9.7 percent, 6,000 jobs).

New York lost the most construction jobs during the past 12 months (-9,700 jobs, -2.5 percent), followed by Washington (-8,400 jobs, -3.6 percent), Maryland (-4,700 jobs, -2.9 percent), and Pennsylvania (-4,100 jobs, -1.6 percent). The largest percentage loss was in Washington, followed by Maryland, North Dakota (-2.9 percent, -800 jobs), D.C. (-2.6 percent, -400 jobs), and New York.

For the month, construction employment increased in 36 states and D.C, declined in 13 states, and was unchanged in Rhode Island. New York added the largest number and percentage of jobs over the month (9,500 jobs, 2.5 percent). Other states with large monthly increases include California (4,600 jobs, 0.5 percent), Michigan (4,000 jobs, 2.0 percent), and Florida (3,600 jobs, 0.6 percent). States with large percentage gains include Wisconsin (2.2 percent, 3,1000 jobs) and Minnesota (2.1 percent, 2,700 jobs).

Oregon lost the largest number and percentage of construction jobs from February to March (-2,300 jobs, -2.0 percent). Other states with substantial job losses include Colorado (-1,500 jobs, -0.8 percent) and Washington (-1,200 jobs, -0.5 percent). States with notable percentage losses for the month include Wyoming (-0.9 percent, -200 jobs), Oklahoma (-0.8 percent, -700 jobs) and Colorado.

Association officials urged federal officials and lawmakers to increase funding for construction training and education programs and to allow more people to lawfully enter the country to work in construction. They pointed out that few students receive exposure to construction as a career opportunity during school, which makes it difficult for firms to find workers pursuing high-paying construction careers. The lack of a dedicated temporary work visa program for construction adds to the challenge of filling the record level of openings.

“In order to keep up with demand for infrastructure and private construction, it is essential to enable more students to learn about and prepare for careers in the industry,” Jeffrey D. Shoaf, the association’s chief executive officer, said. “In addition, there should be legal routes for qualified people to work in the industry.”

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