Alaska Only State to Add Construction Jobs Between February 2009 and 2010, While 12 States Post Month-to-Month Gains
Ongoing Construction Job Losses Show Need for Expansion of Infrastructure Bonding Programs that Is Investing Over $70 Billion in Infrastructure Projects
Construction employment in forty-nine states and the District of Columbia declined between February 2009 and February 2010 according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. As construction job losses extend into their third year, the new data highlights the need to expand the Build America Bond program, trade group officials noted.
“With only one exception, the construction jobs picture varies from bleak to bad all across the country,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “We can’t afford to turn our back on any opportunity to boost investments in infrastructure and construction.”
Simonson noted that Alaska was the only state to see an increase in construction employment (0.6 percent, 100 jobs) between February 2009 and February 2010. Nevada (27.8 percent, 26,400 jobs); D.C. (25 percent, 3,200 jobs); Missouri (21.8 percent, 27,600 jobs); Colorado (20.9 percent, 30,300 jobs); and Arizona (20.9 percent, 30,600 jobs) experienced the largest percentage declines in construction employment for the year. California (119,900 jobs, 17.7 percent) experienced the largest decline in the number of construction employment.
The highest percentage declines in construction employment between January and February 2010 occurred in the District of Columbia (11.1 percent, 1,200 jobs) and Maryland (5.4 percent, 8,000 jobs) which were hit by unusually severe winter weather. Close behind were Wyoming (5.2 percent, 1,200 jobs); California (3.7 percent, 21,500 jobs); and Virginia (3.6 percent, 6,700 jobs). Meanwhile, the states adding the highest percentage of construction jobs over the past month were New Hampshire (5.5 percent, 1,200 jobs); Maine (4.5 percent, 1,000 jobs); Wisconsin (3.0 percent, 2,800 jobs); Louisiana (1.6 percent, 2,000 jobs) and Mississippi (1.3 percent, 600 jobs).
Association officials pointed to continued weakness in construction employment in urging Senators to authorize an expansion of a range of infrastructure bonding programs including Build America Bonds. The bonds, which were first made available as part of the stimulus, have already been used to provide over $70 billion to finance 834 different infrastructure projects
“In terms of boosting employment, supporting the economy and repairing our aging infrastructure, infrastructure bonds are about as low hanging fruit as you get,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Expanding these programs won’t fix all our problems, but it will give workers new opportunities and our businesses a competitive edge.”
Click here to see the new state-by-state construction employment data.