- Construction employment grew month-to-month in 28 states between February and March, with 44 states and Washington, DC, adding jobs from March 2015 to March 2016, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.
- Pennsylvania (6,000 jobs, 2.6%) had the biggest month-to-month increase, while West Virginia (4.5%, 1,400 jobs) had the highest percentage gain. Year-over-year, California (39,600, 5.6%) and Hawaii (20.9%, 7,000) led job growth.
- Of the 22 states to lose jobs from February to March, and even though it was a year-over year-winner, California (-7,400 jobs, -1%) gave up the most jobs last month, while Arkansas (-3%, -1,500 jobs) lost the highest month-to-month percentage. Year-over-year, North Dakota once again (-5,700 jobs, -15.7%) lost the most construction jobs and had the highest percentage decrease.
Ken Simonson, chief economist for the AGC, said the industry saw employment growth in all regions of the U.S. in the last 12 months and that the trend should continue. However, he added that a persistent softening in the energy sector is still driving job losses in the five biggest energy-producing states.
The AGC also warned that the continued rise in construction demand in much of the country will lead to more shortages of skilled labor. Once again, the association encouraged government officials at all levels to focus on education programs that will bring more workers into the construction employment pipeline.
"These healthy job gains show that educators and policy makers in all states should provide more support to construction education and training programs," AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr said in a release. "As a result, we are loading many students up with college debt instead of encouraging them to begin making higher-than-average wages as construction craft workers."
This month the Associated Builders and Contractors reported that its Construction Confidence Index fell slightly in the second half of 2015, partly due to concerns over anticipated skilled worker shortfalls. In addition the Bureau of Labor Statistics Analysis reported this month that the industry added 37,000 jobs in March, up significantly from January’s and February’s gains. This increase, the AGC said, means that the industry is finding ways, for now, to maintain adequate staffing levels in the face of growth.