Michigan and Wisconsin were among the top 10 states to see construction employment gains in April in year-over-year comparisons, according to data compiled by Arlington, Va.-based Associated General Contractors of America. Michigan logged a 10 increase in construction employment from April 2014 to April 2015, trailing only Idaho and Washington, which saw increases of of 12.4% and and 12% for the same period.
Wisconsin, ranked No. 10, saw construction employment rise 7.9% in year-over-year comparisons.
Illinois ranked No. 15 on the strength of a 7.1% increase from April 2014 and 2015. However Illinois logged a -0.14% decline between March and April.
Despite forecasts for increasing industrial demand in Indiana and Ohio, both states failed to gain much traction in year-over-year employment comparisons, with Indiana gaining no ground from April 2014 to April 2015 and Ohio logging a 1.5% loss for the same period.
Results in the Midwest were not unlike those in other regions, says AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson. “The latest data show that construction is growing across most of the country but the gains remain uneven by month and state,” he says. “Construction employment grew faster than overall employment in most states in the latest 12 months, but the industry faces two challenges: a lack of experienced workers in many locations and a risk that funding for highway and transit projects will lapse in the next few months.”
Simonson notes that construction employment fell so far and for so long in most states that many veteran workers left the industry for other sectors or have retired. To date, only five states have exceeded pre-recession highs for construction employment: Iowa, Louisiana, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.