The outlook for construction employment in the Southwest remained positive in March as all three states in the region posted year-over-year job gains once again. Arizona and Nevada led the pack by adding 7,900 construction jobs each over the past 12 months, according to seasonally-adjusted numbers released by The Associated General Contractors of America.
New Mexico also posted significant year-over-year employment gains in March, adding 1,000 jobs in the construction industry. This coincides with a national trend as 44 states and Washington, D.C. added construction jobs between March 2015 and March 2016.
The Silver State continued its strong start to 2016 by posting an 11.6% yearly increase in construction employment in March, the fourth largest increase in the nation. The state also ranks third nationally in month-over-month construction employment growth in March, adding 3,000 jobs in the month, according to seasonally-adjusted numbers.
Overall, Nevada added 35,500 non-farm jobs in March, good for a yearly increase of 2.8%, according to seasonally-adjusted numbers in the Nevada labor market overview for March 2016. It is the 63rd straight month that the state has posted gains in non-farm employment.
“The state continues to narrow the gap with respect to the national unemployment rate and for the 44th consecutive month Nevada’s job growth, which is the third best in the nation, has exceeded the national average,” says Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval in a press release. “Small businesses continue to create new opportunities across Nevada and have surpassed peak pre-recession job numbers, a major milestone for the Silver State.”
Nevada’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.8%, down from 6.9% a year ago but still well above the national unemployment rate of 5%.
Of all industries in Arizona, construction experienced the third largest job growth in March, lagging behind only Leisure & Hospitality and Education & Health Services, according to the Arizona Department of Administration’s Monthly Employment Report. The construction industry posted a year-over-year construction employment growth rate of 6.3% in the state, which ranks 14th nationally.
The state added 1,200 construction jobs month-over-month, good for a 0.9% growth rate. That figure ranks 20th nationally, according to seasonally-adjusted numbers.
Arizona added 84,300 total non-farm jobs between March 2015 and March 2016. The state also showed monthly growth, adding 12,200 jobs between February and March of this year, according to the state’s seasonally-adjusted numbers.
The unemployment rate dropped 0.1% to 5.4% in between February and March. This is higher than the national rate of 5% and is a 0.8% drop from the unemployment rate in the state a year ago.
New Mexico
New Mexico posted modest year-over-year construction employment gains of 2.3% in March. That figure ranks 38th nationally, according to seasonally-adjusted numbers released by The Associated General Contractors of America. However, New Mexico (-700 jobs) was also one of 22 states that lost construction jobs between February and March.
The overall employment outlook in the state is positive, according to non seasonally adjusted numbers in the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions Employment Release. New Mexico added 3,000 non-farm jobs over the past 12 months to bring the state’s total non-farm employment to 826,500 jobs in March. New Mexico also posted month-over-month gains, adding 4,700 jobs between February and March.
Expectedly, a drop in the unemployment rate coincided with the increase in jobs. New Mexico’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dropped 0.2% from February to March and now sits at 6.2%. That also marks a decrease of 0.3% from a year ago. Despite the drop, New Mexico’s unemployment rate is still well above the national rate of 5%.
Wayne Schutsky contributed to this report.