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Construction employment growth trended positively in the majority of states in January, though the lack of qualified labor prevented many firms from adding more jobs, according to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). An AGC analysis of government data indicates 37 states added jobs in January compared with the prior year, and 33 states added jobs on a month-over-month basis.

“[The] report confirms that construction demand remains robust in most states,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the AGC. “But contractors are scrambling to find qualified workers, which is keeping more states from posting employment increases.”

Between January 2023 and 2024, 37 states added construction jobs, led by strong growth in California, Florida, and Texas. New York lost the most jobs on a year-over-year basis, followed by Washington, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Maryland. The largest percentage increase in construction employment occurred in South Dakota, while the largest percentage decline occurred in Washington, D.C.

For the month of January, North Carolina, Indiana, Louisiana, and New Jersey added the most jobs. Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Ohio lost the most construction jobs from December to January.

A recent supplemental survey by the NAHB as part of its Housing Market Index confirmed that labor remains a top concern for home builders: The percentage of builders reporting a shortage of labor they employ directly ranged from 33% to 65% across 16 trade specialties.

“If we want more people to work in construction, the first step is to expose more students to the profession,” said AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr.