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By: Alex Carrick on February 2nd, 2017

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State Employment in 3 Pockets of the Economy Important for Construction

Economic News

Table 1 accompanying this article summarizes state jobs levels and year-over-year employment percentage changes not only in construction, but also in three pockets of the economy that account for important shares of building activity – manufacturing, office-based work and the ‘leisure and hospitality’ sector (i.e., hotels/motels/bars/restaurants).

2017-02-02-State-Employment-Graphic

The sum of the not seasonally adjusted (NSA) state employment numbers in Table 1 totaled 146.3 million jobs in December 2016, which was +1.4% compared with December 2015’s level.

Manufacturing’s December 2016 total was weakest, -0.4% y/y; office-based employment had a quite respectable showing, +1.7%; and leisure/hospitality work was strong, +2.5%. Construction on its own was a little better than middle of the road, +1.7%.

With respect to manufacturing, none of the four major geographic regions of the country recorded a year-over-year increase in jobs. The South was -0.2%; the Northeast, -0.3%; the Midwest, -0.5%; and the West, -0.6%.

The six states with the highest levels of manufacturing employment in December 2016 were: California (1.277 million jobs and -0.6% y/y); Texas (849,000 and -1.7% y/y); Ohio (689,000 and -0.4% y/y); Michigan (602,000 and +0.9% y/y); Illinois (568,000 and -1.9% y/y); and Pennsylvania (567,000 and -0.1% y/y). Notice that only Michigan among those half dozen managed a gain.

There were some other positive percentage increases in manufacturing sprinkled throughout the listing, but most of them were in states with only a small production line presence. Florida (a level of 360,000 and +2.7% y/y) and Alabama (266,000 and +3.2% y/y) were perhaps the only other states warranting special mention.

For office-based employment, I’ve added together three sectors as set out in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)’s monthly Employment Situation report: ‘information’, ‘financial activities’ and ‘professional and business services’. The West (+2.1% y/y), South (+1.9%) and Midwest (+1.7%) have all recently had good office-related jobs growth, with the Northeast (+0.8%) trailing somewhat. Upwardly trending office-based employment, which lowers vacancy rates, is a prime driver of new office construction.

The six states with the highest levels of office-based employment in December 2016 were: California (3.932 million and +1.8% y/y); Texas (2.591 million and +1.8% y/y); New York (2.267 million and +0.4% y/y); Florida (2.006 million and +3.1% y/y); Illinois (1.423 million and +1.8% y/y); and Pennsylvania (1.193 million and +1.0% y/y).

Other states with some notable climbs in year-over-year office-based employment were: Oregon (a level of 385,000 and +5.9% y/y); Michigan (951,000 and +4.0%); Missouri (611,000 and +3.3% y/y); and Georgia (1.036 million and +3.2% y/y).

The West recorded the greatest year-over-year percentage increase in leisure and hospitality employment in December 2016, +2.9%, but no region was left behind. The South was +2.6%; the Midwest, +2.2%; and the Northeast, +1.8%.

The half dozen states with the loftiest levels of ‘accommodation and amusement’ employment in the December just passed were: California (1.913 million and +3.1% y/y); Texas (1.299 million and +3.5% y/y); Florida (1.196 million and +4.4%% y/y); New York (903,000 and +2.6% y/y); Illinois (585,000 and +2.1% y/y); and Ohio (543,000 and +2.6% y/y).

Florida stands out for its large percentage climbs in both office-based and leisure and hospitality employment, +3.1% and +4.4% respectively.

Other states with outsized jumps in their leisure and hospitality jobs were: Missouri (a level of 295,000 and +7.1% y/y); Hawaii (121,000 and +4.4% y/y); and Michigan (419,000 and +4.0% y/y). The Motor City is making its presence known in a positive way once again.

As for construction employment, the large population states – as to be expected − dominated on-site worker levels in December 2016. Just as interesting, however, are those states where there were some truly impressive year-over-year ‘hard hat’ percentage gains: Nevada, +13.4%; Oregon, +9.6%; Iowa, +8.6%; Washington, +7.6%; Colorado, +7.2%; and Minnesota, +7.0%.

Table 1: State and Regional Employment Levels, December 2016
(not seasonally adjusted / NSA data)

Total Manufacturing Office-based Leisure/Hospitality Construction
Employment (000s) Employment (000s) Employment (000s) Employment (000s) Employment (000s)
Dec
2016
% Change Y/Y Dec
2016
% Change Y/Y Dec
2016
% Change Y/Y Dec
2016
% Change Y/Y Dec
2016
% Change Y/Y
Connecticut 1,699 -0.1% 159 0.5% 383 0.3% 151 0.3% 55 -2.8%
Maine 609 -0.3% 51 -0.8% 102 -0.1% 57 0.2% 26 -3.0%
Massachusetts 3,603 2.0% 252 0.7% 867 2.5% 341 2.4% 152 6.3%
New Hampshire 678 1.8% 67 1.5% 129 2.0% 68 5.7% 27 3.5%
Rhode Island 494 0.8% 41 -2.1% 106 0.3% 57 5.5% 18 -1.1%
Vermont 322 0.4% 30 -1.0% 44 0.5% 40 3.9% 16 -0.6%
Total New England 7,405 1.2%   601 0.3%   1,631 1.6%   714 2.4%   293 2.5%
New Jersey 4,121 0.3% 243 1.5% 1,000 -0.1% 347 0.1% 156 2.1%
New York 9,498 1.1% 444 -2.2% 2,267 0.4% 903 2.6% 359 -2.8%
Pennsylvania 5,947 0.5% 567 -0.1% 1,193 1.0% 542 0.8% 229 1.6%
Total Middle Atlantic 19,565 0.8%   1,253 -0.6%   4,460 0.5%   1,792 1.6%   744 -0.4%
TOTAL NORTHEAST 26,970 0.9%   1,854 -0.3%   6,091 0.8%   2,507 1.8%   1,037 0.4%
Illinois 6,046 0.5% 568 -1.9% 1,423 1.8% 585 2.1% 201 -4.5%
Indiana 3,103 0.7% 519 -0.2% 496 0.3% 301 1.2% 129 -0.3%
Michigan 4,378 1.7% 602 0.9% 951 4.0% 419 4.0% 149 2.6%
Ohio 5,530 0.6% 689 -0.4% 1,092 0.4% 543 2.6% 203 1.1%
Wisconsin 2,938 0.8% 471 0.2% 518 1.2% 260 1.5% 110 0.6%
Total East North Central 21,995 0.8%   2,848 -0.3%   4,480 1.7%   2,108 2.4%   791 -0.4%
Iowa 1,588 0.6% 208 -3.3% 271 0.8% 136 0.9% 87 8.6%
Kansas 1,404 -0.7% 162 -0.9% 278 0.1% 124 -1.0% 56 -7.0%
Minnesota 2,912 1.3% 315 -0.6% 603 1.7% 245 -2.3% 115 7.0%
Missouri 2,861 2.3% 260 -0.3% 611 3.3% 295 7.1% 120 3.2%
Nebraska 1,026 0.8% 97 -0.3% 213 1.7% 88 2.1% 47 -1.7%
North Dakota 440 -1.4% 25 -0.8% 66 -1.1% 41 2.5% 27 -7.7%
South Dakota 436 1.7% 41 -2.2% 68 1.8% 45 4.9% 22 2.8%
Total West North Central 10,666 1.0%   1,106 -1.1%   2,110 1.7%   976 2.0%   474 2.5%
TOTAL MIDWEST 32,661 0.9%   3,954 -0.5%   6,589 1.7%   3,084 2.2%   1,265 0.7%
Delaware 463 0.6% 27 -4.3% 120 3.6% 50 4.0% n/a n/a
District of Columbia 788 2.2% 1 9.1% 216 2.9% 76 3.4% n/a n/a
Florida 8,554 3.0% 360 2.7% 2,006 3.1% 1,196 4.4% 467 5.3%
Georgia 4,457 2.2% 387 0.1% 1,036 3.2% 471 3.8% 179 3.9%
Maryland 2,727 1.0% 108 1.9% 626 1.0% 268 2.3% 157 -0.4%
North Carolina 4,393 1.9% 465 1.0% 923 2.9% 461 1.5% 200 3.1%
South Carolina 2,076 1.8% 243 1.6% 407 2.6% 232 1.0% 91 2.8%
Virginia 3,966 1.0% 229 -2.1% 993 0.7% 389 1.9% 184 -0.4%
West Virginia 768 0.1% 46 -1.1% 110 -2.2% 75 2.3% 31 0.3%
Total South Atlantic 28,193 2.0%   1,865 0.7%   6,436 2.4%   3,218 3.1%   1,310 2.9%
Alabama 1,984 0.9% 266 3.2% 353 1.8% 187 -0.6% 76 -5.8%
Kentucky 1,937 0.7% 246 0.1% 357 1.8% 184 0.1% 74 -4.2%
Mississippi 1,139 -1.0% 142 -1.7% 153 -6.4% 131 2.3% 45 -4.6%
Tennessee 3,021 1.5% 343 1.2% 617 1.9% 313 1.8% 124 4.8%
Total East South Central 8,080 0.8%   997 1.0%   1,480 0.9%   814 0.9%   319 -1.4%
Arkansas 1,236 0.2% 153 -1.3% 209 2.2% 112 0.2% 48 -2.4%
Louisiana 1,989 -0.2% 134 -5.7% 328 0.9% 225 -1.3% 146 0.4%
Oklahoma 1,670 -0.3% 126 -4.7% 282 -0.8% 167 3.1% 80 0.5%
Texas 12,222 1.8% 849 -1.7% 2,591 1.8% 1,299 3.5% 689 -0.5%
Total West South Central 17,116 1.2%   1,262 -2.4%   3,409 1.5%   1,803 2.6%   963 -0.4%
TOTAL SOUTH 53,389 1.6%   4,124 -0.2%   11,325 1.9%   5,836 2.6%   2,592 1.1%
Arizona 2,755 1.2% 160 -0.6% 674 0.9% 313 3.4% 136 4.8%
Colorado 2,645 1.8% 141 -2.3% 643 1.2% 333 2.2% 166 7.2%
Idaho 700 2.0% 65 2.5% 131 4.5% 71 0.7% 40 1.0%
Montana 463 0.8% 20 3.6% 72 2.7% 60 4.3% 24 -6.2%
Nevada 1,311 2.9% 43 0.9% 244 0.5% 345 3.2% 81 13.4%
New Mexico 835 0.3% 27 -2.9% 149 2.2% 95 1.5% 45 3.2%
Utah 1,448 2.8% 129 3.8% 327 4.9% 141 2.3% 89 4.5%
Wyoming 276 -2.7% 10 1.0% 32 0.0% 32 0.9% 20 -5.1%
Total Mountain 10,433 1.6%   595 0.4%   2,271 1.8%   1,389 2.7%   601 5.2%
Alaska 319 -1.8% 8 0.0% 44 -5.2% 31 1.0% 15 -4.5%
California 16,750 2.1% 1,277 -0.6% 3,932 1.8% 1,913 3.1% 762 2.5%
Hawaii 663 1.8% 14 0.0% 123 0.9% 121 4.4% n/a n/a
Oregon 1,869 3.0% 183 -1.6% 385 5.9% 191 1.6% 90 9.6%
Washington 3,290 2.9% 281 -2.1% 682 2.8% 316 2.7% 185 7.6%
Total Pacific 22,889 2.2%   1,763 -0.9%   5,166 2.1%   2,574 3.0%   1,052 3.8%
TOTAL WEST 33,323 2.0%   2,358 -0.6%   7,437 2.1%   3,963 2.9%   1,654 4.3%
TOTAL U.S. 146,343 1.4%   12,289 -0.4%   31,442 1.7%   15,389 2.5%   6,547 1.7%

' 'n/a' means not available.

Data source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Chart: ConstructConnect.