38 states add construction jobs in January as firms fight to keep up with demand
- An Associated General Contractors of America analysis of Department of Labor data found that 38 states and Washington, DC, added construction jobs in January, a 13-state uptick from December. For the period January 2016 to January 2017, 39 states added positions.
- Florida gained the most jobs from December to January (10,700 jobs; 2.2%) and Louisiana added the highest percentage (5.3%; 7,600 jobs). Florida was also the year-over-year winner with a boost of 34,600 jobs (7.9%), while Oregon scored the largest year-over-year percentage increase (11.5%; 10,000 jobs).
- Once again, California lost the most jobs month over month (-6,900 jobs; -0.9%), and Nebraska lost the largest share (-2.3%; -1,200 jobs). Mississippi lost the most positions year over year (-2,200 jobs; -4.8%), and Alaska (-10.1%; -1,700 jobs) gave up the biggest percentage.
Contractors are still having a hard time scraping together enough skilled labor but have managed to do so for the time being. AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr said in a release that growth in demand is outpacing that of supply, and now is the time for federal officials to act through increased funding of technical and trade programs, with a focus on the use of Pell grants and regional training.
A January AGC survey revealed that 73% of firms anticipate growing their workforces this year due to more demand. Unfortunately, 73% also said they were having a hard time finding enough skilled help, and 76% responded that the labor market would continue to contract throughout this year. Many of the respondents expected increased demand driven by the prospect of President Donald Trump's infrastructure program and his promises of decreased regulation.
Trump and his team are in the planning stages for his $1 trillion infrastructure plan and have reportedly tossed around the possibility that those states with a speedier permitting process will be first in line for funds to avoid leaving any infrastructure dollars idle. At the same time, the U.S. Senate is exploring a combination of public and private options to finance the ambitious program.
Despite the recent movement, there are rumors that Trump might be delaying a hard push of his infrastructure plan until next year, giving him elbow room to deal with other agenda items like healthcare, tax reform and ensuring the confirmation of his remaining cabinet members and his nominee to the Supreme Court.
- Associated General Contractors of America THIRTY-NINE STATES ADD CONSTRUCTION JOBS BETWEEN JANUARY 2016 & 2017 WHILE THIRTY-EIGHT STATES AND D.C. ADD JOBS FROM DECEMBER TO JANUARY
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