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By: Alex Carrick on June 29th, 2017

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7 U.S. States Can Boast of Greatly Improved Construction Jobs Markets

Economic News

Largely due to a housing starts boom across the United States in 2005-2006, nearly every state experienced strong construction employment that often extended from 2006 into 2008.

2017-06-29-US-States-Labor-Graphic

But then the Great Recession struck and in its aftermath, on-site ‘hard hat’ jobs nose-dived.

Since 2010, construction jobs in most states have recovered substantially. But only rarely have they managed to re-gain and surpass their former elevated perches.

Seven states can now boast of experiencing construction employment levels that are greatly improved versus what they were prior to the Great Recession. Those seven are: Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas.  

Furthermore, there are five states in which construction employment has nearly recovered to pre-Big Dip levels – Colorado, Minnesota, Oregon, Utah and Washington. One of those five is in the Midwest and the other four are in the West.

There are seven states in which construction employment has continued to decline, stayed flat or made minimal upward progress – Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, New Mexico, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

And four states have recorded some forward movement in construction employment, but not much: Illinois, Missouri, Nevada and North Carolina.

The rest of the states have climbed about halfway out of their peak-to-trough pits.

It would be nice to include, with this article, graphs showing the results for all 50 states, but space limitations stand in the way. Therefore, the list has been condensed to ten.

By the way, all the monthly seasonally adjusted (SA) background numbers on state construction employment can be accessed through the State and Metro Area Employment (SAE) home page of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Graphs 1 through 7 show the states that have made significant improvements in construction employment in the last several years, even relative to previous peaks. They are arranged alphabetically.

Graph 1: Iowa − Jobs in Construction
Iowa − Jobs in Construction
Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) / State & Metro Area Employment (SAE) home page.
Chart: ConstructConnect
Graph 2: Louisiana − Jobs in Construction
Louisiana − Jobs in Construction
Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) / State & Metro Area Employment (SAE) home page.
Chart: ConstructConnect
Graph 3: Massachusetts − Jobs in Construction
Massachusetts − Jobs in Construction
Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) / State & Metro Area Employment (SAE) home page.
Chart: ConstructConnect
Graph 4: New York − Jobs in Construction
New York − Jobs in Construction
Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) / State & Metro Area Employment (SAE) home page.
Chart: ConstructConnect
Graph 5: North Dakota − Jobs in Construction
North Dakota − Jobs in Construction
Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) / State & Metro Area Employment (SAE) home page.
Chart: ConstructConnect
Graph 6: Oklahoma − Jobs in Construction
Oklahoma  − Jobs in Construction
Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) / State & Metro Area Employment (SAE) home page.
Chart: ConstructConnect
Graph 7: Texas − Jobs in Construction
Texas − Jobs in Construction
Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) / State & Metro Area Employment (SAE) home page.
Chart: ConstructConnect

Graphs 8 and 9 set out the histories for California and Florida. It’s important to include those two jurisdictions because, along with Texas and New York, they constitute the four most populous states in the country.

One in three Americans lives in California, Texas, New York or Florida.

The patterns of construction employment in California and Florida have largely mirrored what has occurred for the country as a whole – solid recoveries from deep troughs, but no return yet to former pinnacles.  

Graph 8: California − Jobs in Construction
California − Jobs in Construction
Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) / State & Metro Area Employment (SAE) home page.
Chart: ConstructConnect
Graph 9: Florida − Jobs in Construction
Florida − Jobs in Construction
Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) / State & Metro Area Employment (SAE) home page.
Chart: ConstructConnect

Graph 10, for Mississippi, has been included to illustrate the extreme negative end of the spectrum. Mississippi has been the worst case scenario.

Graph 10: Mississippi − Jobs in Construction
Mississippi − Jobs in Construction
Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) / State & Metro Area Employment (SAE) home page.
Chart: ConstructConnect

With respect to the number of individuals working in construction among all states at this time (i.e., May 2017), the six frontrunners are: (1) California (810,500); (2) Texas (711,300); (3) Florida (501,200); (4) New York (379,500); (5) Pennsylvania (240,800); and (6) Illinois (216,200).  

Rounding out the Top Dozen are: (7) Ohio (211,100); (8) North Carolina (203,000); (9) Washington (195,200); (10) Virginia (188,200); (11) Georgia (182,700); and (12) Michigan (163,800).