Slight Uptick in November Construction Employment Outweighed by Big Drop for Year Overall.

Missouri, Wisconsin, and Indiana added a small percentage of construction jobs in November, while Illinois lost still more.

Citing employment data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the AGC of America said that construction employment increased in 26 states during November. It attributed some of the construction-job growth to warm, dry weather.

Over the past 12 months, however, nationwide construction employment has dropped in every state but North Dakota, the AGC analysis showed.

"It is too early to say if the (November) pickup reflects improving economic conditions or a short-lived break in the weather," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the association. "Only eight of the states with gains in November had increases the month before," Simonson added.

In the principal area covered by Midwest Construction Magazine, November construction employment was up by 1.5% in Missouri, 0.7% in Indiana, and 0.1% in Wisconsin, compared to October, 2009. In Illinois, it dropped by 1.8%. The change in those four states over the past 12 months was much uglier. Since November of 2008, construction employment has dropped by 13.1% in Missouri, 12.5% in Illinois, 8.8% in Indiana, and 7.6% in Wisconsin.

Neighboring states followed similar trends.

Comparing November, 2009, to the previous month, construction jobs dropped 1.4% in Michigan and 0.3% in Iowa, while they rose 1.1% in Ohio and 1.3% in Minnesota.

Over the past 12 months, however, construction employment dropped 17.4% in Michigan, 12.4% in Iowa, 10.9% in Ohio, and 6.0% in Minnesota.

Nationally, the one-month construction-employment figures for November, 2009, show that 23 states and the District of Columbia shed construction jobs, 26 states added construction jobs, and Delaware remained stable.

"The last thing construction workers need right now are cuts in infrastructure investments," said AGC Chief Executive Officer Stephen E. Sandherr. He noted that federal investments in highway and transit projects are projected to go down by 20%, or $15 billion, in 2010, compared to this year.