homeWelcome, sign in or click here to subscribe.login




print  email to a friend  reprints add to mydjc  

April 24, 2024

Washington leads nation in construction job losses

Photo by Benjamin Minnick [enlarge]
Brundage-Bone on Friday pumped concrete for an underground power line at Terminal 46 in Seattle. Washington state shed 3.6% of its construction jobs over the past year.

Washington state has the dubious distinction of losing the highest percentage of construction jobs in the country over the past 12 months ending in March. That's according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data released last week.

Over the 12 months, Washington lost 3.6% of its construction jobs. That's a drop of 8,400 jobs and second only to New York's 9,700 lost jobs (loss of 2.5%). And, the past month hasn't been kind to Washington either — it lost 1,200 jobs, ranking it 49th out of 51 states/District of Columbia for total job gain/loss. Percentage wise, Washington lost 0.5% of its construction jobs for the month, placing it 44th on the list.

The Associated General Contractors of America points out that construction employment increased in 39 states in March from a year earlier, while 36 states and D.C. added construction jobs between February and March.

In a news release, AGC officials hail the widespread gains in construction jobs, but warn that a dearth of available workers may imperil timely completion of many projects.

“Most states have experienced no letup in demand for construction projects, as these numbers reveal,” says Ken Simonson, AGC's chief economist, in the release. “In fact, even more states would have posted an increase in construction employment if contractors could find enough qualified workers.”

Between March 2023 and March 2024, 39 states added construction jobs, 10 states and D.C. shed jobs, and employment was unchanged in Vermont. California added the most construction employees (33,900 jobs, 3.8%), followed by Texas (28,600 jobs, 3.5%) and Florida (23,000 jobs, 3.7%). Alaska had the largest percentage increase over 12 months (16.2%, 2,700 jobs), followed by South Dakota (10.9%, 3,000 jobs) and Arkansas (9.7%, 6,000 jobs).

For the month, construction employment increased in 36 states and D.C., declined in 13 states, and was unchanged in Rhode Island. New York added the largest number and percentage of jobs over the month (9,500 jobs, 2.5%). Other states with large monthly increases include California (4,600 jobs, 0.5%), Michigan (4,000 jobs, 2.0%) and Florida (3,600 jobs, 0.6%). States with large percentage gains include Wisconsin (2.2%, 3,1000 jobs) and Minnesota (2.1%, 2,700 jobs).

Oregon lost the largest number and percentage of construction jobs from February to March (minus 2,300 jobs, minus 2.0%). Other states with substantial job losses include Colorado (minus 1,500 jobs, minus 0.8%) and Washington.

The AGC is pressing federal officials and lawmakers to increase funding for construction training and education programs, and to allow more people to lawfully enter the country to work in construction. It says the lack of a dedicated temporary work visa program for construction adds to the challenge of filling the record level of openings.

“In order to keep up with demand for infrastructure and private construction, it is essential to enable more students to learn about and prepare for careers in the industry,” says AGC CEO Jeffrey D. Shoaf in the release. “In addition, there should be legal routes for qualified people to work in the industry.”

Email or user name:
Forgot password? Click here.