New York State construction employment grew 2.4% to 322,500 during the past year, according to an Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) report issued March 18. However, Connecticut lost 2.5%, or 1,300 construction jobs, and New Jersey lost 0.9%, or 1,200 jobs, from January 2012 to January 2013, says the report, which is based on Dept. of Labor data. Nationwide, 24 states and the District of Columbia added jobs, 25 states shed workers and one, Wisconsin, had no change.

Month over month, two-thirds of all states—including N.Y., N.J. and Conn.—added workers from December 2012 to January 2013. The industry shows signs of emerging from a six-year slump, AGC says. N.Y. added 13,000 jobs for the month, the largest numerical increase nationwide, which likely reflects recovery work from Hurricane Sandy, it adds. Conn. added 600 workers, and N.J. added 2,600.

Construction spending has been rising for two years, but contractors have been cautious about hiring "until they knew the upturn would last," says Ken Simonson, AGC chief economist. Residential and private non-residential construction are likely to rise enough to offset a further slowdown in public work, which will spur demand for more workers, he adds.

However, the industry's recovery remains fragile, and current and impending federal budget cuts may threaten employment numbers in numerous states, Simonson says. "Further gains appear likely but could be derailed if lawmakers continue to make indiscriminate cuts to key construction and infrastructure programs."