Here's some good news for both contracting firms and laborers looking for construction jobs: Year-over-year and month-to-month employment is on the rise, indicating an increase in building opportunities. While the construction industry was somewhat more resilient than many others during the economic downturn that plagued the U.S. in recent years, it still took a hit and saw reduced opportunities for growth. The market is still somewhat unstable in the short term, as the decline in non-residential construction in May, reported on by Contractor Magazine, indicates. Thankfully, the slowdown in commercial and residential construction, along with the long-term decline in spending by local, state and federal government agencies, is being substantially recovered from, based on recent labor statistics.
Construction Equipment Guide presented the results of an analysis from the Associated General Contractors of America showing that 40 states and Washington, D.C., added jobs between May 2013 and May 2014. While 10 states lost some level of construction jobs, a strong majority have more construction projects than they did last year at the same time. States with the strongest construction growth included Nevada, which added 7,000 jobs in the 12-month period, an impressive gain of 12.5 percent of the Silver State's total construction workforce. Other large gainers included Florida, which added far more jobs in total at 35,300, but had those new workers account for just 9.8 percent of the total labor force. Minnesota was close behind, growing its total building labor force 9.7 percent and adding 9,700 jobs. California only had a year-over-year increase of 5.9 percent, but added the most construction employment opportunities at 37,700.
Growth Should Encourage Builders
While 10 states did lose jobs year-over-year, with Montana, New Jersey and West Virginia the loss leaders, the general atmosphere for construction is positive. With a total increase to the labor force near 100,000 during the past year, there's some relatively long-term evidence that contractors will have an easier time finding projects and individual workers will be able to locate job opportunities. While the recovery of different market segments such as commercial or industrial construction may have different timetables for complete recovery, the overall market is in relatively good shape. Contracting firms can't start blindly hiring new workers and investing in all-new equipment, but they can start to identify areas where they want to expand and determine the best course of action from there.