Just a flicker in the job market...certainly nothing to haul out the champagne for, but at least the October construction job market saw a small uptick during October as reported by the Labor Department. This expansion is a continuation of a trend of ups and downs in construction employment over the past year. As Ken Simonson, the Associated General Contractors Association’s chief economist puts it, “Considering that most states adding construction jobs in October had shed workers in September, it is safe to say that construction employment remains volatile.”
Where were the new jobs? Arizona at 4.4% (5,000 jobs) showed the largest percentage increase, while Texas at 2.3% (8,800 jobs) showed the largest total increase. Other states showing positive increases included Illinois (1.5%, or 3,000 jobs); Washington (2.1%, or 3,000 jobs); South Carolina (3.2%, or 2,500 jobs); and Colorado (1.6%, or 1,800 jobs).
Among the 39 states that lost construction jobs over the past 12 months, Nevada experienced the largest percentage decline (–19.5%, or –14,500 jobs) while California lost the most jobs (–7.9%, or –45,700 jobs). Other states experiencing large declines for the year include Idaho (–15.2%, or –5,000 jobs); Vermont (–13.4%, or –1,800 jobs); Montana (–10.5%, or –2,500 jobs); and Missouri (–10.3%, or –11,900 jobs).
AGC officials believe that temporary stimulus funding has helped the industry, but that most firms are worried about business levels for next year. According to Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer, “We won’t see sustained job growth until the private sector picks up and long-term federal plans are clear,”
While AGC’s assessment parallels the findings in our readership poll earlier this year, ours showed that the majority of respondents expected increased employment in 2011. How about sharing what you see in your crystal ball.