Construction employment expanded in 29 states between September and October, while fewer people are working in construction compared to last year in 39 states, the Associated General Contractors of America reported in an analysis of state employment data released by the Labor Department. North Carolina and South Carolina construction employment remained virtually unchanged, according to the AGC study,
The new figures continue a nearly year-long trend of ups and downs in construction employment as the industry performs stimulus-funded work yet grapples with broad market uncertainty.
“Considering that most states adding construction jobs in October had shed workers in September, it is safe to say that construction employment remains volatile,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Construction is no longer in free fall, but the industry remains fragile as improvements vary greatly by state and project type.”
North Carolina added 500 construction jobs in October (3.0%). South Carolina experienced a 3.2% increase in construction employment (2,500) during the past month. North Carolina shed 7,700 construction jobs over the year (-4.3%). South Carolina lost 1,300 jobs (-1.6%) over the past year.
Eleven states and D.C. added construction jobs for the year, Simonson added. The largest year-over-year percentage increase was in Kansas, where construction employment rose 9.0 percent (5,100 jobs), followed by Oklahoma (8.1 percent, 5,400 jobs); Arkansas (5.1 percent, 2,600 jobs); D.C. (4.6 percent, 500 jobs); and West Virginia (3.3 percent, 1,100 jobs).
Association officials said that temporary stimulus funding has helped the industry, but that most firms were worried about business levels for next year. They added that private, state and local demand for construction remains weak, while long-term federal infrastructure programs and tax rates remain in limbo. “We won’t see sustained job growth until the private sector picks up and long-term federal plans are clear,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.
View construction employment figures by state Here.