AGC: Construction job growth bounces back in 35 states

Construction employment bounced back in October with job growth in 35 states between September and October, while year-over-year, 43 states and the District of Columbia saw increases, the Associated General Contractors of America reported.

New York (7,800 jobs; 2.2%) and Idaho (4.6%; 1,800 jobs) saw the largest month-over-month gains in employment, while Florida (-5,500 jobs; -1.3%) and Alaska (-4.8%; -900 jobs) lost the most jobs from September to October.

AGC officials cautioned that to maintain such job growth, schools, associations and private industry must implement construction recruitment and training programs, which will require support across all levels of government.

October’s employment numbers were welcome news after tepid job growth last month.
“Construction job gains were more widespread than at any time since last February,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the AGC. “Several states that had recently experienced year-over-year job losses began adding workers, while net employment gains accelerated in numerous other states.”
Simonson said construction spending has risen at its fastest pace since 2006, 14% in the last 12 months. He added that increased spending most likely indicates a coming bump in future hiring, but contractors may have trouble finding qualified workers due to the fact that construction unemployment is at such low levels in many states.
A top priority for the AGC this year has been the promotion of its 2015 Workforce Development Plan as a way to increase the number of workers coming into the construction industry.
In the past, the AGC has also attributed slow job growth to uncertainty from Washington regarding a multiyear highway-funding bill. The Senate and House have each passed long-term bills, but there was no indication from the AGC in its statement this month as to whether the association believes those moves affected job growth negatively or positively. President Obama signed the 36th short term funding extension bill on Friday, as the House and Senate said they needed more time to come to an agreement on a final, long-term bill.
Other month-over-month gains included California (7,600 jobs, 1.0 percent), Ohio (5,800 jobs, 3.1 percent), (Colorado (4,100 jobs, 2.7 percent), Montana (4.6 percent, 1,100 jobs), Rhode Island (3.4 percent, 500 jobs) and Hawaii (3.3 percent, 1,100 jobs). Additional September-to-October losers were Pennsylvania (-4,200 jobs, -1.7 percent), Minnesota (-2,200 jobs, -2.1 percent) and West Virginia (-3.1 percent).

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