AGC: Jan. employment up in 30 states as construction 'remains vibrant'

Dive Brief:

  • Construction employment increased month-to-month in 30 states and Washington, DC, between December and January, the Associated General Contractors of America reported, with 44 states and Washington, DC, adding construction jobs from January 2015 to January 2016. 
  • Florida (7,900 jobs, 1.8%) saw the largest December-to-January job gains, while Tennessee (3.4%, 4,200 jobs) had the highest month-to-month percentage increase.
  • Of the 18 states that lost jobs from December to January, Virginia (-6,400 jobs, -3.4%) lost the highest number of jobs, and Kansas (-4.7%, -2,900 jobs) lost the highest month-to-month percentage.

Dive Insight:

Ken Simonson, chief economist for the AGC, said the decline in oil and gas drilling and coal mining was the driving factor in year-over-year state job losses — especially in North Dakota, Alaska and West Virginia — but that the December-to-January numbers are a statement of the continuing demand for construction workers in the rest of the country.

"Construction remains vibrant in nearly every state and is adding workers at a faster clip than other industries in much of the country," Simonson said in a release. "Contractors report they are optimistic that demand for construction will continue, but they worry about finding enough qualified workers."

Although strong demand is a positive sign for the industry, this pull on resources will continue to exacerbate the ongoing labor shortage. "Contractors won’t be able to keep pace with demand for their services if they don’t have enough workers to complete projects on schedule,"AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr said in a release.

The organization also continues to tout its Workforce Development Plan, which it said contains a successful formula for encouraging younger people into the industry in time to relieve an aging workforce. Part of this effort, according to the AGC, includes a focus on vocational education in public schools.

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