Construction Employment in February Trails Pre-pandemic Level in 44 States

Construction employment in February remained below pre-pandemic levels in all but six states, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government employment data.

“Today’s figures show most states are still far from recovering the construction jobs lost a year ago,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The overall economy is recovering, but huge price spikes and ever-lengthening delivery times threaten to set construction back further.”

Seasonally adjusted construction employment in February 2021 was lower than in February 2020 – the last month before the pandemic forced many contractors to suspend work – in 44 states and the District of Columbia. Texas lost the most construction jobs over the period (-56,400 jobs or -7.2 percent), followed by New York (-41,100 jobs, -10.1 percent), California (-35,000 jobs, -3.8 percent), Louisiana (-20,400 jobs, -14.9 percent), and New Jersey (-18,200 jobs, -11.1 percent). Louisiana experienced the largest percentage loss, followed by Wyoming (-14.0 percent, -3,200 jobs), New Jersey, New York, and West Virginia (-9.3 percent, -3,100 jobs).

Only six states added construction jobs from February 2020 to February 2021. Utah added the most jobs (6,700 jobs, 5.9 percent), trailed by Idaho (4,500 jobs, 8.2 percent) and Arkansas (900 jobs, 1.7 percent). Idaho added the highest percentage, followed by Utah and Arkansas.

From January to February, 35 states lost construction jobs, 11 states added jobs, and there was no change in D.C., Idaho, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont. New York had the largest loss of construction jobs for the month (-15,600 jobs or -4.1 percent), followed by Indiana (-6,100 jobs, -4.1 percent), Illinois (-5,600 jobs, -2.6 percent), and Iowa (-5,500 jobs, -6.9 percent). Iowa had the largest percentage decline, followed by Kansas (-4.9 percent, -3,100 jobs), New York, and Indiana. Utah added the most construction jobs and the highest percentage over the month (3,000 jobs, 2.5 percent), followed by South Carolina (2,200 jobs, 2.1 percent).

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