Construction employment rose in only 19 states and the District of Columbia in November, a weaker showing than in recent months, according to an analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data by the Associated General Contractors of America. In contrast, 25 states plus the District of Columbia added jobs on a year-over-year basis, while 24 states shed construction jobs.
Rhode Island had the largest one-month percentage gain from October to November (5.8%, with 900 jobs), while New York added the largest number of construction jobs for the month (4,600 jobs, a 1.8% increase). Of the 30 states that lost construction jobs from October to November, Arizona had the largest one-month percentage drop (-4.3%, a loss of 5,000 jobs), with Utah next (-4.2%, a loss of 2,800 jobs), followed by Kentucky (-3.9%, a loss of 2,500 jobs) and Vermont (-3.7%, a loss of 500 jobs). California lost the largest number of construction jobs for the month (7,100 jobs, down 1.2%). Maine was the only state with no change in monthly construction employment.
North Dakota had the nation's highest construction employment gains from November 2010 to November 2011, adding 3,800 jobs – an 18% increase. Among the 24 states that lost construction jobs over the past 12 months, New Mexico experienced the steepest decline with the loss of 5,900 jobs, a 13% drop. Nevada had no change in construction employment over the year.
‘Although there have been selective improvements in private nonresidential employment, multifamily construction and even home building in a few states, public construction employment declines are negating these gains in much of the country,’ says Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. ‘The map of gains and losses is likely to remain very checkered for several more months.’