Arizona Dragging Down Southwest Construction Employment
Driven mostly by losses in Arizona, Southwest construction employment dipped in September, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics earlier this week, but the losses in the Grand Canyon state are buoyed by gains in Nevada and steady performance in New Mexico.
In Arizona from August to September 2014, slightly less than 3,000 construction jobs were lost. Construction employment is down to 115,500 in September 2014 from 118,200 in August 2014. Year-over year, construction jobs in Arizona have declined from 123,100 in September 2013 — a loss of about 7,500 construction jobs.
From August to September 2014, Nevada added slightly less that 1,000 construction jobs, from about 63,500 in August to 64,300 jobs in September. Year-over year, construction jobs in Nevada have increased dramatically by about 7,600 jobs from about 57,000 in September 2013.
From August to September 2014, New Mexico gained 400 construction jobs, from about 41,600 to 42,000 jobs. Year-over year, construction jobs in New Mexico have remained constant at 42,000.
Combined, the Southwest states of Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico experienced a net loss of about 1,500 construction jobs from August to September 2014. Year-over-year, there is about a net gain of 100 jobs in the Southwest, with Arizona’s losses being offset by Nevada’s year-over-year gains.
According to the state of Arizona Office of Employment and Population Statistics, construction shed the most jobs of any category in the state, more than the post-recession average loss of 1,100 jobs. Specialty trades lost 2,400 jobs, the highest over-the-month loss in September since 2009.
“While specialty trade job losses are not unusual, it is high relative to the average post-recession job loss of 1,000 jobs. Construction of buildings shed 400 jobs followed by heavy construction which shed 100 jobs,” according to the Arizona Office of Employment and Population Statistics report.
In Nevada, 13,560 initial claims for unemployment insurance were filed in the month of September. That represents a slightly declining trend compared to both the previous 12-month average, which was 14,339 and 6-month average that stood at 13,955.