Construction Employment Increases in 27 States from September to October

Construction employment climbed in 27 states from September to October, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Association officials said, however, that many more contractors would have added employees if qualified applicants were available citing data showing a surge in construction job openings.

“Although barely half of states added workers in October, government data on job openings and hires show contractors were eager to add employees,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The shortfall in available workers is undermining job gains and causing delays and higher costs for many projects.”

There were 412,000 job openings in construction at the end of September according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most for any September since the series began in 2001, Simonson added. He noted this total exceeded the 348,000 employees hired in the entire month, implying that contractors wanted to add more than twice as many workers as they were able to find.

In October, 27 states added construction employees, 19 states lost jobs, and employment was flat in four states and the District of Columbia. New York added the most construction jobs over the month (4,500 jobs, 1.2 percent), followed by Colorado (2,600 jobs, 1.4 percent) and Utah (2,000 jobs, 1.5 percent). The largest percentage gain occurred in North Dakota (2.0 percent, 600 jobs), followed by Mississippi (1.9 percent, 900 jobs), and Nebraska (1.7 percent, 1,000 jobs).

Pennsylvania experienced the largest decline in construction jobs in October (-3,500 jobs, -1.4 percent), followed by Louisiana (-3,400 jobs, -2.7 percent), and Florida (-2,900 jobs, -1.4 percent).

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