The construction sector began to show signs of life at the end of 2014 and those trends remained steady for the most part across the southwest in February of 2015. There were gains of 4,000 jobs relative to last year across the three state region according to data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Arizona and Nevada both saw growth compared to February of last year, with New Mexico being the only state of the three to post a loss in the construction sector. The region followed a trend based on data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that showed unemployment rates in 366 of the 387 metropolitan areas were lower in February of 2015 than a year earlier.
Increases in Arizona’s construction sector helped the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to drop from 6.6% in January 2015 to 6.5% in February, according to numbers provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Arizona’s construction sector saw an increase in jobs overall for the year, adding 1,400 jobs representing a 1.1% increase according to seasonally adjusted employment statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, specialty trades was the only construction sector to report gains, having added 3,300 jobs. Heavy construction was hit the hardest, losing 1,600 jobs, marking the tenth consecutive month of over-the-year loss in that sector. Building construction lost an additional 300 jobs.
“The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Arizona dropped one-tenth of a percentage point from 6.6% in January to 6.5% in February,” according to a report by the Arizona Department of Transportation. “A year ago in February, the Arizona seasonally adjusted rate was 7.1% and the U.S. rate was 6.7%.”
“The construction sector continued to lead the state in terms of percentage growth in February, up 5.3 percent relative to last year. This equates to an additional 3,200 construction jobs,” according to a report by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
The amount of construction jobs throughout the state of Nevada has now reached 64,100, according to seasonally adjusted employment statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, up from 60,900 a year ago.
The growth in the construction sector in Nevada was led by specialty trade contractors, which were up 9.3% relative to last year according to seasonally adjusted employment statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Construction of buildings was also up 2.8% compared to last year.
Nevada has a statewide unemployment rate of 7.1% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.6% percent higher than the national average of 5.5%.
Employment in the construction sector posted a loss for the month of February according to seasonally adjusted employment statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with construction down 600 jobs, representing a 1.4% loss.
The loss of construction jobs followed the trend in the unemployment rate across the state of New Mexico, which increased to 6% in February of 2015, up from 5.9% in January.