May 3, 2013

Kansas construction employment down 3.2% from last year

Kansas was among 19 states losing construction jobs from March 2012 to March 2013, the Associated General Contractors of America said in a report Friday.

The state lost 1,800 jobs from year ago, a drop of 3.2 percent, the AGC’s analysis of U.S. Labor Department data shows.

Kansas construction employment last month stood at 54,900, AGC says.

On a brighter note, Kansas picked up 200 jobs from February to March, a gain of 0.4 percent.

The AGC, in a news release, cautioned that many states remain vulnerable to construction cutbacks from newly enacted and proposed decreases in federal funding for infrastructure. Association officials said the cuts in federal funding for construction enacted in March would push employment totals lower in states with large military and federal civilian facilities.

March Construction Employment Up in 30 States

Construction employment increased in 30 states in March as the industry expanded, but at a slower pace than in February, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data. Association officials caution, however, that many states remain vulnerable to construction cutbacks from newly enacted and proposed decreases in federal funding for infrastructure.

“A majority of states are adding jobs month by month and year-over-year,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The expansion appears poised to continue for residential and private nonresidential construction. But investment in infrastructure and public buildings is still on a downward path. That will keep employment down in states with a large federal presence.”

Simonson said hiring for recovery work from Hurricane Sandy may be the reason New York had the largest increase in construction employment between February and March (6,000 jobs, 1.9 percent) and Connecticut had the largest percentage increase (5.7 percent, 2,900 jobs).

Twenty states and the District of Columbia lost construction jobs between February and March. The largest losses occurred in Missouri (-3,400 jobs, -3.2 percent).

Association officials said cuts in federal funding for construction enacted in March would push employment totals lower in states with large military and federal civilian facilities. “Shortchanging investment in the nation’s infrastructure hurts not just construction workers but anyone who relies on good roads, air travel or drinking water,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

“We need to make urgent repairs and new investments in transportation and environmental infrastructure before our aging and overused systems begin to drag on economic growth,” Sandherr said.

View the state employment data by rank and by state.

Texas construction firms added nearly 40,000 employees to payrolls

Texas was on the gaining end in construction employment over the past 12 months, according to a new report by Arlington, Va.-based Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

Texas added a total of 39,800 jobs between March 2012 and March 2013. Only California added more jobs on a year-over-year basis. The Golden State added a total of 41,000 jobs over the 12-month period.

Texas’ construction companies had a total of 616,200 jobs as of March 31, 2013 — a 6.9 percent increase from the 576,400 jobs reported last March.

The AGC analysis tracks employment numbers for all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.

Texas was one of 31 states, plus the District of Columbia, that added construction workers to their payrolls between March 2012 and 2013, AGC reports. The remaining 19 states lost construction jobs.

Looking at monthly job gains/losses, AGC reports that 30 states added jobs between February and March 2013. Another 21 states, plus the District of Columbia, lost construction jobs. Nationally, a total of 18,000 jobs were added on a monthly basis — marking the 10th consecutive month of employment increases.

Texas added 1,900 construction jobs between February and March — going from a total of 614,300 employees in February, to 616,200 a month later.

While noting that the majority of the states are adding jobs on a month-over-month and year-over-year basis, Ken Simonson, chief economist of AGC, also points out that those states with a large federal presence are facing some challenges.

“The expansion appears poised to continue for residential and private nonresidential construction,” Simonson says. “But investment in infrastructure and public buildings is still on a downward path. That will keep employment down in states with a large federal presence.”

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