Construction employment continued its spotty improvement in July, as more states posted year-over-year gains but most states posted decreases compared with June, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data. Association officials said the steady improvement in employment in many states was welcome news, but cautioned that the industry’s recovery was still fragile.
North Carolina was one of only 18 states that showed gains between June and July on a seasonal basis. The Tar Heel state added 100 construction jobs (1 percent) compared to South Carolina that added 900 jobs (1.1 percent).
South Carolina was ranked 10th in the nation in year-over-year percentage of job growth, adding 4600 construction jobs (6 percent) compared to North Carolina’s loss of 1,900 jobs (-1.1 percent). “Barely a third of states added construction jobs between June and July,” said the associations Chief Economist Ken Simonson.
Both the widespread annual gains and monthly losses were consistent with national totals for July, Simonson noted. Labor Department data released earlier this month showed construction employment rose 3.0 percent from July 2012 to July 2013, but slipped by 0.1 percent, seasonally adjusted, in the latest month.
Association officials said that after years of layoffs and slow demand, many unemployed skilled construction workers had likely either retired or switched industries. They noted that should demand for new construction expand, many firms indicate they are likely to face shortages of available skilled workers.
“While the industry’s recovery has been tentative and remains very fragile, any jump in demand would be as challenging for firms as it would be welcome,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “The biggest question for many firms is whether there will be enough skilled workers available if things heat up.” View the state employment data by state. Read More.