Construction employment slowed in April as the industry added 1,000 jobs. The Northwest experienced the reality of that slowdown as Oregon was the only state in the region to post construction employment growth between March and April. Oregon joined 21 other states that experienced construction employment growth in April.
“Some of the slowdown in hiring last month was due to mild winter weather that allowed contractors to hire or retain workers in the first quarter instead of waiting until spring,” said Ken Simonson, the Associated General Contractors chief economist. “Yet reports from contractors and recent Census Bureau data on construction spending through March suggest industry demand for workers will remain robust, if firms can find employees with the right skills.”
Construction employment in Washington shrunk by 100 jobs between March and April, according to seasonally-adjusted numbers from Washington’s monthly employment press release. That -0.1% growth rate ranks 26th nationally. The non-seasonally adjusted year over year numbers paint a better picture for construction employment in Washington as the state added 11,700 jobs between April 2015 and April 2016.
Washington’s construction industry added 9,600 jobs year over year according to seasonally-adjusted numbers. That equates to a 5.5% growth rate, which ranks 19th nationally.
Overall, Washington gained 9,600 total non-farm jobs between March and April, according to seasonally-adjusted numbers. However, Washington continues to post an unemployment rate (5.8%) that is significantly higher than the national unemployment rate of 5%.
The construction industry added 1,000 seasonally-adjusted jobs in Oregon in April, making it one of five sectors in the state to add at least 1,000 jobs month over month, according to the State of Oregon Employment Department’s monthly employment press release. Oregon’s 1.2% month over month growth rate in construction employment ranks eighth nationally.
The year over year numbers also show a positive trend for the construction industry in Oregon. The state added 5,600 construction jobs in April compared to the same time last year. That 5.6% growth rate ranks 13th nationally compared to other states and Washington D.C., according to The Associated General Contractors of America.
Overall, Oregon experienced a significant drop in the unemployment rate as the rate dropped from 5.7% in April 2015 to 4.5% in April 2016. That seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged from the previous month. Oregon added 63,500 total jobs over that period.
Construction employment shrunk in Alaska in April as the sector shed 300 jobs in the month. Job cuts in the oil industry are likely to blame for this decline in employment, according to a press release from Alaska’s Department of Workforce and Development.
Alaska also lost 1,800 construction jobs year over year in April, according to figures from The Associated General Contractors of America. Compared to the other 49 states and Washington D.C., Alaska’s -9.7% construction employment growth rate ranks 49th, trailing only Wyoming and North Dakota.
Despite this negative trend, Alaska could see employment gains in construction in the upcoming months as the state prepares for the summer construction season, according to the state’s press release.
The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in Alaska remained the unchanged between March and April, holding steady at 6.6%. Alaska, along with Arkansas, posted the highest seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in the country in April. The state’s unadjusted unemployment rate fell 0.4% during that span to 6.9%.