Both Washington and Oregon built off of strong February numbers and continued to post solid construction employment gains in March, adding 10,900 and 4,400 construction jobs, respectively, in the past 12 months. In total, 44 states and Washington, D.C. posted construction employment job growth between March 2015 and March 2016, according to seasonally-adjusted employment statistics released by The Associated General Contractors of America.
Alaska, on the other hand, continues to struggle with the state losing 1,600 construction jobs year-over-year in March. Among the six states that lost construction jobs during the period, Alaska ranked last with a growth rate of -8.7% in the sector.
Washington’s seasonally adjusted year over year growth rate in construction employment was 6.3% in March, which ranks 14th when compared to the other 50 states and Washington D.C. After a strong February, the state also managed to post a much more modest over the month growth rate of 0.6%, adding 1,100 jobs in the construction between February and March.
Employment in specialty trade contractors actually rose 1,500 during the month and offset a 400 job loss in building construction.
Overall, Washington added 9,000 non-farm jobs month over month in March and showed positive job growth in all industries except financial activities, which remained unchanged, and education and health services, which lost 1,600 jobs, according to seasonally-adjusted figures in Washington’s Monthly Employment Report.
The seasonally-adjusted unemployment remained unchanged in Washington between February and March, holding at 5.8%. That percentage marks 0.2% increase from a year ago. It is also well above the national unemployment rate of 5%.
Oregon posted a modest 5.3% construction employment growth rate year over year in March, which ranks 23rd nationally. However, the state lost 900 jobs in the sector between February and March. That amounts to -1% growth that ranks 39th nationally, according to The Associated General Contractors of America’s seasonally-adjusted numbers.
Construction joined private educational services, manufacturing and financial activities as the only sectors to post month over month job losses in March.
The overall employment outlook in Oregon is good as the state posted its lowest unemployment rate since “comparable records began in 1976”, according to a press release from Oregon’s Employment Department. The state’s current seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate of 4.5% marks a 0.3% decrease from February and is 0.5% below the national rate.
Oregon’s unemployment rate also showed a drastic improvement on a year over year basis, decreasing by 1.2% over the past 12 months.
Overall, Oregon added seasonally adjusted 3,900 non-farm jobs month over month in March.
“Rapid job growth and a historically low unemployment rate mean that Oregon’s labor market is stronger than it’s been in decades,” says state employment economist Nick Beleiciks in the release. “Businesses are raising wages to attract the help they need, and it’s working because people are flocking to Oregon’s labor force.”
The hourly wage in Oregon rose 4.6% in March year over year to $24.45 per hour for private sector employees.
Alaska lost 400 construction jobs between February and March of this year, according to seasonally-adjusted figures. That is good for a -2.3% growth rate, which ranks 49th nationally.
Due in large part to losses in the construction and oil & gas industries, Alaska’s total non-farm employment decreased by roughly 1,000 jobs year over year in March, according to a press release from the Alaska’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The state’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged for the sixth straight month, holding steady at 6.6%.
Wayne Schutsky contributed to this report.