Ill. Leads Nation in Construction Employment Losses
Illinois logged more construction job losses in January than any state in the nation, according to new data compiled by Arlington, Va.-based Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).
In year-over-year comparisons, Illinois lost 9,800 jobs in January, representing a 5% dip in the state's construction employment rate. Employment also sputtered in states that have shown improvement in recent months, including Ohio and Indiana, which lost 5,200 jobs and 4,600 jobs, respectively.
By comparison, construction employment essentially remained flat in other Midwest states, including Wisconsin, Michigan and Missouri.
Texas added the most jobs (28,500) in year-over-year comparisons, followed by California (17,600), Washington (8,200), New York (7,500) and Florida (7,400).
AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson says the Midwest lags other regions in key sectors due to stagnant population growth and disincentives, including high taxes, that keep businesses from relocating there.
In all, construction employment increased in 34 states between January 2012 and January 2013, an indication the industry has begun to emerge from its six-year slump, according to AGC's analysis of Labor Department data.
“These results show that contractors are finding work in more parts of the country than they have for many months,” says Simonson. “Further gains appear likely but could be derailed if lawmakers continue to make cuts to key construction and infrastructure programs.”
Association officials indicated that states with a large federal presence could suffer from cuts in triggered by implementation of federal sequestration earlier this month. Spending bills advancing in Congress could yield similar results, they say.