Florida leads 32 states adding construction jobs, but 91% of firms struggling to find workers

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Florida Construction News staff writer

Florida reported the largest gain as 32 states added construction jobs in September and 47 increased construction employment during the past 12 months, according to data released this week by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America. Association officials say significant labor shortages in the industry likely prevented even larger employment gains across the country.

“While it is encouraging to see construction employment expanding in a majority of states, it is tempting to imagine how much higher those gains would have been if contractors could find enough workers to hire” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer, noting that a recent survey by the association found 91 percent of firms are having a hard time finding workers to hire.

Florida added the most construction jobs (6,900 jobs, 1.2 percent) between August and September, followed by New York (4,200 jobs, 1.1 percent); Virginia (3,300 jobs, 1.6 percent); Michigan (3,200 jobs, 1.8 percent) and Ohio (2,100 jobs, 0.9 percent).

Florida also reported positive results for the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, with 24,400 more jobs than last year, a 4.1 percent increase.

15 states and D.C. reported drops with New Jersey losing the most (-2,700 jobs, -1.7 percent). Other states losing a high number of construction jobs included Texas (-2,600 jobs, -0.3 percent); Alabama (-2,500 jobs, -2.4 percent) and Arizona (-1,700 jobs, -0.9 percent). Alabama had the highest monthly percent decline in construction employment, followed by Vermont (-2.0 percent, -300 jobs); New Jersey and Oklahoma (-1.1 percent, -900 jobs). Three states had no change in their construction employment levels for the month.

California has added the most construction jobs (44,500 jobs, 4.8 percent) between September 2021 and September 2022, followed by Texas (43,200 jobs, 5.5 percent); Florida (24,400 jobs, 4.1 percent) and Ohio (13,000 jobs, 5.6 percent). North Dakota had the highest rate of growth (17.3 percent, 4,800 jobs); followed by West Virginia (13.5 percent, 4,400 jobs); New Mexico (11.0 percent, 6,000 jobs) and Alaska (10.4 percent, 1,800 jobs).

Four states lost construction jobs during the past 12 months. New Jersey lost the most construction jobs (-3,800 jobs, -2.4 percent) for the year, followed by South Carolina (-2,900 jobs, -2.8 percent) and Georgia (-1,300 jobs, -0.6 percent). South Carolina had the fastest rate of construction job losses for the year, followed by New Jersey and Vermont (-1.3 percent, -200 jobs).

Sandherr urged Congress and the Biden administration to boost funding for career and technical education programs. He also called for measures to allow more people with construction skills to lawfully work as a short-term measure to relieve labor shortages. “This industry needs more workers to help hard hit communities rebuild, improve infrastructure, and modernize our energy and manufacturing sectors,” said Sandherr.

View September 2022 state employment data and one-month and 12-month rankings.

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