AGC Reports Construction Employment Shows Signs
of "Stabilizing" as Six States Add Jobs Between June 2009
July 21, 2010
Construction employment edged closer to stabilizing in June, as
half the states either added construction jobs or kept the same
number as in May, the Associated General Contractors (AGC) reported
in an analysis of federal employment data. Compared to June 2009,
construction employment rose in six states, the largest number of
states to post year-over-year increases since October 2008.
"It is encouraging to see some states adding construction
jobs and the declines in others getting less severe," said
Ken Simonson, chief economist for the construction trade association.
"But there's little room to celebrate with overall construction
employment at a 14-year low and demand for most constructions services
Simonson noted that the largest year-over-year increase was in
Kansas, where construction employment rose 7.7 percent (4,400 jobs),
followed by Alaska (3.1 percent, 500 jobs); Arkansas (2.4 percent,
1,200 jobs); West Virginia (2.4 percent, 800 jobs); and New Hampshire
(2.3 percent, 500 jobs). The largest percentage job decrease compared
to June 2009, was in Nevada, 24.4 percent (-19,500 jobs), followed
by Vermont (18.5 percent, 2,500 jobs); Wyoming (16.6 percent, 4,000
jobs); and Washington (14.3 percent, 22,900 jobs). California lost
the largest number of jobs (74,400 or 12 percent).
Kentucky experienced the highest one-month percent increase in
construction employment (2.4 percent, 1,600 jobs), followed by New
Mexico (2.1 percent, 900 jobs); Massachusetts (1.9 percent, 2,000
jobs); Utah (1.5 percent, 1,000 jobs); and Nebraska (1.5 percent,
700 jobs). Wyoming lost the highest percentage of construction jobs
during the past month (6.9 percent, 1,500 jobs); followed by Vermont
(5.2 percent, 600 jobs); Nevada (4.7 percent, 3,000 jobs); Idaho
(3.7 percent, 1,100 jobs); and Iowa (3 percent, 1,900 jobs).
Simonson noted that the abundance of workers and firms eager to
work, combined with relatively low materials costs makes construction
services more affordable than they have been in years. He noted
that the producer price index for construction dropped 0.9 percent
in June. "In a few months, however, many companies are likely
to have closed their doors, and materials costs will be rising again,"
Association officials noted that projects funded by federal stimulus
money have added to the construction job tally in many states. They
warned, however, that money will soon run out yet Congress has yet
to pass most of its regular long-term infrastructure bills. "Any
improvements in the construction employment picture will be difficult
to sustain unless Congress quickly passes long-term funding for
transportation, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure,"
said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer.
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