Construction and Human Resources

State construction jobs increase from last year

Most states added industry jobs largely because of public sector spending.

January 3, 2014
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While the number of new jobs in Michigan’s construction industry increased in 2013, the gains didn’t match up to the industry’s numbers nationwide. ©Thinkstock.com

The number of construction jobs in Michigan grew over the past year, but not at a rate that would rank the state as a top job gainer in the industry nationwide.

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Associated General Contractors of America reported that construction firms added jobs in 39 states from November 2012 to November 2013. Mississippi and California added the most, according to the AGC report.

The construction job base in Mississippi grew by 17 percent over that period with the addition of 8,000 new jobs. But California led the nation with the most new jobs at 31,500, which translated into a 5.2 percent gain for the industry in that state.

“The widespread job gains seen in most states for the past few months continued in November, while no state recorded a year-over-year loss of more than four percent,” said Ken Simonson, AGC chief economist.

“But progress remains fragile, with some states having results in the latest month that diverge sharply from their year-over-year outcomes,” he added.

In Michigan, construction jobs rose from 125,600 in November 2012 to 128,100 in November 2013, for a total gain of 2,500 jobs or a 2 percent increase. But the state’s industry lost 1,100 jobs from October to November 2013 to restrict the yearly gain.

The employment data ranked Michigan at 36th for the 12-month job figures.

AGC also reported that 10 states and the District of Columbia lost construction jobs over the year. The biggest losers were Ohio and Indiana, which dropped 5,200 and 4,100 jobs, respectively.

AGC noted that the 12-month job gains were primarily due to an “unusual spike” in public construction spending for October and that spending “masked” a softening demand in the private sector.

AGC warned that construction employment will weaken in many parts of the country if public spending declines. So the association has urged Congress and the administration to complete water-resources legislation and renew long-term highway and transit legislation.

“At this point, it is hard to predict whether construction employment will continue to expand in many states next year,” said Stephen Sandherr, CEO of AGC. “Passing vital infrastructure measures will help protect construction employers from any softening in private sector demand, while giving the economy a needed boost.”

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