Construction Employment Yields Mixed Results in Midwest.
After faltering in June, construction employment in Illinois showed signs of improvement in July, adding 2,000 jobs, a 1% increase, in month-to-month comparisons, according to data compiled by Arlington, Va.-based Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Illinois also added 9,200 jobs, a 4% increase, in year-over-year comparisons for July, for a total of 211,200 jobs statewide.
Michigan lost 1,500 construction jobs between June and July, but continues to rank among the nation's top gainers in year-over-year comparisons, having added 12,400 jobs, an 8.7% increase, for a total of 154,900 jobs in July. On a percentage basis, only Arkansas, Idaho, Nevada, Washington and Michigan added more jobs on a percentage basis over the same period.
Wisconsin and Missouri demonstrated flat employment growth between June and July, though both states fared better in year-over-year comparisons for July, with Wisconsin adding 2,000 jobs, a 1.9% increase, for a total of 211,200 jobs statewide. By comparison, Missouri added 1,000 jobs, a 0.9 increase, for a total of 110,500 jobs nationwide.
Indiana and Ohio continued to underperform in July, despite vibrant economies in Indianapolis, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. In month-to-month comparisons, Indiana lost 4,400 jobs, a 3.6% drop and Ohio lost 2,300 jobs, a 1.2 percent drop. Both states also performed poorly in year-over-year comparisons for July, with Ohio shedding 13,800 jobs, a 7% drop, for a total of 184,200 jobs statewide and Indiana shedding 5,100 jobs, a 4.1% drop, for a total of 118,200 jobs nationwide.
AGC chief economist Ken Simonson speculates the drop in Ohio may be tied partially to softening demand for alternative energy sources in the state.
Simonson also observes that “construction continues to grow overall but fewer states are participating in the expansion than was true a year ago. The uneven growth reflects the cross-cutting trends in the overall economy, as tight government budgets, plunging commodity prices and weak overseas demand lead to project cancellations in some states even while activity accelerates elsewhere.”