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Tue, 01/23/2024 – 13:48

South Dakota and Texas Leads Top Rankings of Year-over-Year Increases, While New York Lags; South Dakota and New Jersey Lead in Monthly Gains, While D.C. and Ohio Experience Largest Declines

Construction employment increased in 35 states in December from a year earlier, while 32 states added construction jobs between November and December, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America today. Association officials said the employment gains reflected strong demand for construction but noted that tight labor markets are preventing firms from adding even more workers.  

“Construction demand remains strong in many parts of the country, especially for infrastructure, manufacturing and data center projects,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “But a paucity of qualified workers is holding back further employment gains and impacting project schedules and budgets.”

Between December 2022 and December 2023, 35 states added construction jobs, while industry employment declined in 14 states and D.C. and held steady in Missouri. Texas added the most construction employees over the year (32,800 jobs, 4.2 percent), followed by California (25,900 jobs, 2.8 percent), Arizona (11,900, 6.2 percent), Minnesota (10,900 jobs, 8.3 percent), and Kentucky (10,100 jobs, 12.2 percent). South Dakota had the largest percentage increase over 12 months (20.8 percent, 5,200 jobs), followed by Arkansas (12.8 percent, 7,600 jobs), Kentucky, and New Mexico (10.2 percent, 5,000 jobs).

New York lost the most construction jobs during the past 12 months (-15,600 jobs, -3.9 percent), followed by Colorado (-4,400 jobs, -2.4 percent), North Carolina (-3,700 jobs, -1.5 percent), and Washington (-2,700 jobs, -1.1 percent). New York also had the largest percentage loss, followed by Hawaii (-3.6 percent, -1,400 jobs), North Dakota (-3.1 percent, -800 jobs), and Rhode Island (-3.1 percent, -700 jobs). 

For the month, construction employment increased in 32 states, declined in 15 states and D.C., and was unchanged in Wyoming, Indiana, and Alaska. New Jersey added the most jobs over the month (3,800 jobs, 2.4 percent), followed by Pennsylvania (3,700 jobs, 1.4 percent), Michigan (3,300 jobs, 1.8 percent) and Texas (2,500 jobs, 0.3 percent). The largest percentage gain occurred in South Dakota (4.1 percent, 1,200 jobs), followed by West Virginia (3.1 percent, 1,000 jobs), and New Jersey (2.4 percent, 3,800 jobs).

Ohio lost the most construction jobs in December (-4,100 jobs, -1.7 percent), followed by New York (-3,500 jobs, -0.9 percent), Kentucky (-1,700 jobs, -1.8 percent) and South Carolina (-1,300 jobs, -1.2 percent). The largest percentage loss occurred in D.C. (-1.9 percent, -300 jobs), followed by Kentucky, Ohio, Alabama (-1.3 percent, -1,300 jobs) and Connecticut (-1.3 percent, -800 jobs).

Association officials are urging members of Congress to boost funding for construction-specific education programs this year as they work to renew both the Perkins Act and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Exposing more students and workers to construction skills will better prepare workers while attracting more people to pursue construction careers, they noted.

“The best way to address the industry’s workforce shortages in the long run is by investing in construction training and education programs,” Sandherr said. “It is time to stop urging every student to accumulate college debt when many could be making good money, debt-free, by starting careers in construction.”

View December 2023 state employment data and 1-month rankings and 12-month rankings.