Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin continued to see improving construction employment conditions in October while Illinois, Indiana and Ohio suffered setbacks during the same period, according to year-over-year comparisons compiled by Arlington, Va.-based Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).
Indiana lost the greatest number of jobs (-11,800, -9.5%) in the nation in October, both in raw numbers and on a percentage basis. Neighboring Ohio lost 1,100 jobs (-0.6). For months, both states have endured job losses due to slackening global demand for manufactured goods, according to industry economists.
After several months of stabilization, construction employment dipped precipitously in Illinois (-4.500 jobs, -2.4%), though declines were not as great as in the spring, when the state logged 12,900 job losses in April alone. Though state transportation officials have launched large multi-year projects for both highways and tollways, poor fiscal conditions in Springfield and Chicago continue to undermine momentum in other sectors, economists say.
Missouri logged the greatest gains in construction employment in the region (+7,000 jobs, 6.7%), followed by Michigan (+4,100 jobs, 3.3%) and Wisconsin (1,800 jobs, 2.0%).
In all, construction employment increased in 39 states in October, the most widespread gains since April 2012, according to AGC.
Nevertheless, AGC officials cautioned that industry recovery remains uneven and urged Congress and the Obama administration to enact measures to repair and upgrade aging water and transportation systems. “Making our ports more efficient, our bridges safer and our roads less congested will allow American businesses to be more competitive, our products more affordable and our economy more robust,” says AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr.