North Carolina lost 3,700 construction jobs last year

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North Carolina Construction News staff writer

Construction employment increased in 35 states last year, but North Carolina dropped 3,700 jobs – a 1.5 percent decline.

Also, 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, showing strong demand for construction with tight labor markets 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 including North Carolina where 3,700 jobs were lost, a drop of 1.5 percent. 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, New Jersey added the most jobs in December (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)

“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.

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