AGC Data Indicates Only 14 States Added Construction Jobs Since Pandemic Began
Arlington, VA - Only 14 states and the District of Columbia have added construction jobs since
just before the start of the pandemic in February 2020, according to a new analysis of federal employment data
released by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials
noted that widespread supply chain disruptions amid and the lack of a much-needed
federal infrastructure bill have impeded the sector’s recovery.
“Construction employment remains below pre-pandemic levels in more than two-thirds
of the states,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Supply
problems have slowed down many projects and forced contractors to hold down employment,
while the lack of an infrastructure bill is leading some to delay hiring.”
From February 2020—the month before the pandemic caused project shutdowns and
cancellations—to last month, construction employment increased in only 14 states
and D.C., decreased in 35 states, and stalled in Connecticut. Texas shed the most
construction jobs over the period (-48,000 jobs or -6.1 percent), followed by
New York (-47,300 jobs, -11.6 percent) and California (-32,600 jobs, -3.6%). The
largest percentage losses were in Louisiana (-16.1 percent, -22,000 jobs), Wyoming
(-15.7 percent, -3,600 jobs) and New York.
Utah added the most construction jobs since February 2020 (9,400 jobs, 8.2 percent),
followed by Washington (6,300 jobs, 2.8 percent), North Carolina (5,300 jobs,
2.2 percent), and Idaho (5,100 jobs, 9.3 percent). The largest percentage gains
were in Idaho, Utah, and South Dakota (7.9 percent, 1,900 jobs).
From August to September construction employment decreased in 16 states, increased
in 32 states and D.C., and was unchanged in Iowa and Kansas. The largest decline
over the month occurred in Tennessee, which lost 2,800 construction jobs or 2.1
percent, followed by Missouri (-1,600 jobs, -1.3 percent). The largest percentage
decline was in Alaska (-800 jobs, -4.9 percent), followed by Tennessee and Montana (-400 jobs, -1.4 percent).
Texas added the most construction jobs between August and September
(8,900 jobs, 1.2 percent), followed by Florida (6,900 jobs, 1.2 percent) and Washington
(3,600 jobs, 1.6 percent). Connecticut had the largest percentage gain (3.0 percent,
1,700 jobs), followed by Delaware (2.9 percent, 700 jobs) and West Virginia (2.3 percent, 700 jobs).
Association officials continued to urge the Biden administration
to remove tariffs on a host of key construction materials, including steel and
aluminum, and to do more to relieve shipping bottlenecks that are crippling many
parts of the distribution network. They also urged House officials to quickly
pass a Senate-backed infrastructure bill to increase investments in the nation’s transportation and water systems.
“The latest state employment figures show that gridlock in
our ports and on Capitol Hill is retarding construction employment as well as
the broader economy,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive
officer. “Even as the administration looks for ways to unclog domestic supply
chains, the President should urge the House to pass the infrastructure bill, on
its own, as quickly as possible.”
state February 2020-September 2021 data and rankings,
About The Associated General Contractors Of America
The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is a leading association for the construction industry. AGC represents more than 26,000 firms, including over 6,500 of America’s leading general contractors, and over 9,000 specialty-contracting firms. More than 10,500 service providers and suppliers are also associated with AGC, all through a nationwide network of chapters. To learn more, visit www.agc.org.