ARLINGTON, VA. — U.S. construction employment in December remained below pre-pandemic levels in two-thirds of the states even though 37 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs from November to December, according to recent analysis of government employment data by the Associated General Contractors of America.
Seasonally adjusted construction employment in December was lower in 34 states than in February, the last month before the pandemic forced many contractors to suspend work. Texas lost the most construction jobs over the 10-month period (down 35,600 jobs or 4.5 per cent), followed by New York (minus 30,900 jobs, 7.5 per cent), Florida (down 17,500 jobs, 3.0 per cent) and New Jersey (minus 16,700 jobs, 10.0 per cent). Vermont experienced the largest percentage loss (down 23.1 per cent, losing 3,400 jobs), followed by New Jersey. Kansas was unchanged.
Only 15 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs from February to December. Virginia added the most jobs (10,800, 5.3 per cent), followed by Utah (7,000 jobs, 6.1 per cent) and Alabama (6,100 jobs, 6.4 per cent). Alabama added the highest percentage, followed by Utah and South Dakota (5.7 per cent, 1,400 jobs).
Construction employment decreased from November to December in 11 states and D.C., increased in 37 states and was unchanged in North Carolina and Rhode Island. Arizona had the largest loss of construction jobs for the month (minus 4,100 jobs or 2.3 per cent), followed by Louisiana (down 2,000 jobs, 1.5 per cent). Delaware had the largest percentage decline (3.2 per cent, down 700 jobs), followed by Arizona, Alaska (1.9 per cent, 300 jobs) and Louisiana.
Association officials said the new data underscores the need for additional coronavirus recovery measures.
“While most states recorded construction employment gains in December, the pickup is likely to be temporary for many,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Participants in our association’s recent Hiring and Business Outlook Survey expect the dollar volume of most project types available to bid on to decline in 2021.”