- An Associated General Contractors of America analysis of Labor Department data found that 29 states and Washington, DC, added construction jobs in November, a six-state jump from October. Year over year, 34 states added jobs since November 2015, one state fewer than last month.
- California generated the highest number of construction positions from October to November (3,900 jobs; 0.5%), and Montana added the largest share (8.5%; 2,100 jobs). Once again, California also had the highest job increases from November 2015 (35,100 jobs; 4.7%), and Nevada had the biggest year-over-year percentage increase (11.7%; 8,400 jobs).
- From October to November, Arizona lost the most positions (-3,700 jobs; -2.7%) and Connecticut shed the largest share (-3.1%; -1,800 jobs). New York lost the most jobs year over year (-6,400 jobs; -1.7%), with Kansas yet again giving up the highest percentage (-5.9%; 3,600 jobs).
The AGC said that growth in residential and public works pushed the month-to-month numbers higher, but the lost ground on a year-over-year basis indicated that some areas of the country are experiencing lower demand than others or are failing to meet the necessary staffing levels. The association also said that increasing infrastructure spending in the coming year is a priority not only for construction but for the economy overall.
Highlighting the volatile nature of the construction industry right now, it was only last month that a lack of public sector activity and infrastructure spending (-2.2%) were blamed for workers left idle in some areas of the country. The AGC contrasted this with the private sector’s high demand and limited worker pool.
However, there is plenty of room for more infrastructure investment, and crews all over the country are waiting for significant spending programs. Of course, the anticipated stars of this show are President-elect Donald Trump and his proposed $1 trillion infrastructure plan. During the campaign, Trump advisers floated a preliminary strategy that would see the private sector receive an 82% tax credit in exchange for their equity investments into the construction of revenue-generating assets like toll roads and bridges.
While the enthusiasm for the plan is high — and along with it construction-related stocks — the proposed initiative has already received pushback from leading Democrats like Sen. Charles Schumer (NY). Schumer called the tax break element of the plan a "gimmick" and said funding for infrastructure should come from corporate tax reform. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he would be against a sizeable stimulus plan from the federal government. While Trump and his team have added little in the way of details since before the election, they have suggested they would be open to the idea of an infrastructure bank, a strategy for which they criticized Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.