AGC: 25 states and DC lose construction jobs in May
- Twenty-two states added construction jobs between April and May — one state higher than the month before — while 42 states raised their employment figures year-over-year, according to Associated General Contractors of America analysis of Department of Labor data.
- Louisiana gained the most jobs from April to May and had the highest percentage increase (5,000 jobs; 3.4%). California, once again, added the largest number of positions year-over-year (38,900 jobs; 5.0%), and Rhode Island saw the largest share of jobs added since May 2016 (2,300 jobs; 12.8%).
- Twenty-five states and Washington, DC, lost positions from April to May, with Pennsylvania losing the biggest number (-4,300 jobs; -1.8%) and Wyoming giving up the largest share (-1,100 jobs; -5.1%). Missouri lost the most construction jobs from May 2016 to May 2017 (-4,100 jobs; -3.4%), and the District of Columbia gave up the largest share (-1,200 jobs; -7.6%).
The increase in private sector construction activity and low unemployment most likely means the states that lost construction jobs are having trouble finding enough workers amid the skilled-labor shortage, AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson said in a release.
Earlier this year, an AGC survey revealed that 73% of contractors expected to have enough work to justify hiring more employees this year, but the same percentage said they anticipated difficulty in finding enough qualified workers.
The AGC has continued to appeal to federal, state and local legislators to increase funding for career and technical education programs in the hopes of funneling more talent into their worker pipelines. The association has also made moves to implement other measures included in its Workforce Development Plan, which presents the nation's decaying infrastructure as an opportunity to revamp construction labor forces.
The association, other industry organizations and companies concerned about the tightening labor supply were largely pleased last week with President Donald Trump's executive order that will increase funding for apprenticeships to $200 million. The order also gives the private sector more power in designing apprenticeship programs.
Trump has said in the past that he would like to be able to create 5 million apprenticeships in the next five years, but the executive order comes on the heels of the administration's 2018 budget request, which would cut the Department of Labor's training and employment funding by 21%.
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