Construction jobs continue to decline nationally

Construction employment continues to decline nationwide, according to new employment statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Only two states saw increases since June 2008: North Dakota, with a 5.2 percent increase, and Louisiana, with a 4 percent increase.

From May to June 2009, 14 states experienced increases in construction employment. States with the greatest increases over the month were North Dakota, with a 4.7 percent increase, Arkansas, with a 4.2 percent increase, Montana, with a 4 percent increase, and Mississippi, with a 2.5 percent increase.

The states with the largest declines in employment between May and June 2009 were Michigan, with a 4.1 percent decline, Minnesota and Wyoming, each with a 4 percent decline, and Connecticut, with a 3.2 percent decline. Since June 2008, the states with the biggest losses in employment were Arizona, with a 25.5 percent decline, Nevada, with a 22.6 percent decline, and Connecticut, with a 21/7 percent decline.

“The Recovery Act will start mitigating job losses in all states for the rest of the year and into 2010,”says Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). “But the worsening state and local fiscal picture, along with continued sluggishness in the private sector, means that nonresidential construction work will keep shrinking.”
Simonson urged Congress to act quickly on transferring money into the federal Highway Trust Fund to avert interruption of payments to highway contractors that would force more layoffs. He also called for prompt enactment of pending authorization bills for highways and transit, aviation and water projects, along with passage of appropriations bills that include federal construction.
“All of these bills will deliver both short- and long-term benefits to the American public, while providing desperately needed jobs for construction workers in every state,” Simonson says.

For a state-by-state unemployment statistics, click here.