Forty-four states added jobs between January 2018 and January 2019, while 33 states added construction jobs since December, according to data released by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Recent construction employment reports from the AGC have all shown positive job growth in the majority of states across the country. Most recently, the AGC reported 36 states added construction jobs between November and December.
“Contractors began 2019 by adding employees in nearly all parts of the country,” AGC chief economist Ken Simonson said. “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.”
A survey of contractors at the end of 2018 found 80% of firms expected to add employees in 2019. However, almost 80% of respondents also indicated their firm was having a difficult time filling positions, with two-thirds of firms expecting the conditions surrounding hiring to become more difficult in 2019.
North Carolina, Illinois, New York, and West Virginia added the most construction jobs in pure numbers during January, while West Virginia, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine added the highest percentage of jobs during the month. The AGC reported construction employment reached record highs in Colorado, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, Washington, and West Virginia. Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Alabama had the steepest percentage job loss in the month of January.
The AGC cautioned that widespread job growth may be unsustainable unless more potential workers have the opportunity to learn construction skills.