Associated General Contractors of America

26 States Lost Construction Jobs in August 2012

Construction employment declined in 30 states from August 2011 to August 2012 and in 26 states in the past month, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data. Association officials noted that construction employment declined in most states even as long term infrastructure programs and tax measures languish.

“Construction employment continues to decline in many states as key tax and infrastructure decisions languish in Washington,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Thousands more construction workers could be employed today in states across the country if we had long-term federal tax and infrastructure programs in place.”

Among states losing construction jobs during the past year:

Highest percentage lost between August 2011 and 2012:

  • Alaska (-14.2 percent, -2,000 jobs)
  • Nevada (-10.0 percent, -5,200 jobs)
  • Mississippi (-8.4 percent, -4,100 jobs)

Most jobs lost between August 2011 and 2012:

  • Illinois (-11,500, -5.9 percent)
  • Georgia (-9,900, -6.7 percent)
  • Florida (-8,500 jobs, -2.6 percent)

Simonson noted that 20 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between August 2011 and August 2012.

Highest percentage of new construction jobs added between August 2011 and 2012:

  • District of Columbia (14.9 percent, 1,800 jobs)
  • North Dakota (11.8 percent, 2,900 jobs)
  • Nebraska (10.8 percent, 4,400 jobs)

Most new construction jobs added between August 2011 and 2012:

  • Texas (37,900, 6.8 percent)
  • California (33,000, 6.0 percent)
  • Indiana (10,400, 8.7 percent)

Highest percentage lost in August 2012:

  • New Mexico (-6.8 percent, -2,900 jobs)
  • Alaska (-3.2 percent, -400 jobs)
  • Connecticut (-2.7 percent, -1,300 jobs)

Most constuction jobs lost in August 2012:

  • North Carolina (-3,400 jobs, -2.0 percent)
  • Pennsylvania (-3,300 jobs, -1.5 percent)
  • New Mexico

Twenty-four states plus D.C. added construction jobs between July and August.

Highest percentage of job gains for August 2012:

  • Arkansas (4.8 percent, 2,000 jobs)
  • Hawaii (2.8 percent, 800 jobs)
  • Mississippi (2.8 percent, 1,200 jobs)

Most jobs added in August 2012:

  • Texas (13,600 jobs, 2.3 percent)
  • Florida (5,300 jobs, 1.7 percent)
  • California (5,100, 0.9 percent)

Association officials said that construction employment was suffering from Washington's failure to act on a number of long-term infrastructure and tax measures. They noted that Congress has yet to enact long-term water infrastructure measures, address transportation funding challenges or set tax levels for future years.

"Not only are Washington officials failing to make tough choices on infrastructure funding, they aren't even taking care of essential measures like setting tax rates and keeping our clean water systems up to date,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer. “Construction employment suffers when firms can't anticipate future demand or know how much they will have to pay in taxes.”

View the state employment data by rank and by state.

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