Forty-four states and Washington, D.C., added construction jobs from January 2018 to January 2019, and 33 states added construction jobs from December to January, according to www.agc.org.
"Contractors began 2019 by adding employees in nearly all parts of the country," says Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America. "These figures are consistent with the optimism contractors expressed about workloads and hiring plans in our association's recent survey. But finding workers to execute those projects is likely to be an ongoing challenge."
California added the most construction jobs—28,500—between January 2018 and January 2019. Florida and Texas also added a large number of construction jobs. Additionally, West Virginia added the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year, followed by Nevada, Connecticut and Arizona.
Thirty-three states added construction jobs from December to January, with North Carolina adding the most construction jobs—6,200—followed by Illinois, New York and West Virginia. West Virginia added the highest percentage of construction jobs for the month, followed by Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine.
Six states and Washington, D.C., lost construction jobs between January 2018 and January 2019. South Carolina lost the highest number of construction jobs—3,900—followed by Louisiana and Maine. Construction employment fell in 15 states from December to January, and Texas lost more than any other state—4,800.
Association officials said that the widespread job increases may not be sustainable unless more potential workers have the chance to learn construction skills. They called on federal officials to double investments in career and technical education programs to expose more high school students to construction opportunities.
"Contractors continue to struggle to find enough qualified workers to hire in order to keep pace with demand for construction," says Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC's CEO. "Getting federal officials to boost investments in career and technical education will put more people to work in high-paying construction careers."