The construction jobs numbers came in Tuesday, Jan. 25, and they confirm what everybody already knew: 2010 was a horrible year for many people who earn their living building.
Construction employment shrank nationally by 93,000 employees, with 36 states losing construction jobs in 2010, according Department of Labor data analyzed by the Associated General Contractors of America.
Those numbers were even bleaker in December, when construction jobs declined in 37 states and the District of Columbia, though those numbers are likely to have been impacted by the severe winter weather that slowed or stopped construction in affected states.
The association said in its announcement that it was hoping and expecting President Obama to offer some help to the industry during his annual Sate of the Union address by announcing the need for new infrastructure construction across the county.
“There’s no doubt new infrastructure investments will help improve the construction employment picture,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “More important, those investments will help give the broader business community a much needed competitive advantage by cutting shipping delays and improving operating efficiency.”
Some details from the numbers:
November-to-December, Delaware had the largest one-month percentage increase in employment at 1.6%, which made for 300 jobs. Texas was a close second with a 1.5% improvement in jobs but a greater increase in job numbers at 8,700. Virginia added 1,300 employees, up 0.7%.
The largest percentage drop in jobs from November to December occurred in West Virginia at -8.4% (2,800 jobs), followed by North Dakota, which was down 7.1% (1,500 jobs), and Kentucky, which was down 5.7% (3,800 jobs). New York had the largest decline in monthly job numbers, losing 2.8% (8,900 jobs). It was followed by Florida, which lost -2.5% (8,500 jobs), and Indiana, which shed 5.4% (6,300 jobs).
The largest year-over-year percentage and employment numbers gains occurred in Oklahoma, up 9.2% or 6,200 jobs, and Texas, which had an increase of 5.8% or 32,300 jobs.
Nevada held the position of the largest percentage loser of construction jobs for all of 2010, down 19.1% (13,500 jobs). Only two other states had double-digit percentage declines in 2010: Idaho, down 11.7% (3,700 jobs) and Kentucky, which was down 10.4% (7,200 jobs).
Teresa Burney is a senior editor for Builder magazine.