Construction employment took a downturn across the country between March and April as 28 states and Washington, D.C. experienced employment losses or stagnation in the sector. The Southwest exemplifies the national trend as Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico all lost construction jobs month over month, according to data released by Associated General Contractors of America.
The yearly outlook is more positive, however, with 48 states gaining construction jobs over the past 12 months. Construction employment in Arizona and Nevada grew over that time period while New Mexico neither gained nor lost jobs.
Arizona lost 800 construction jobs between March and April of this year, according to seasonally-adjusted numbers. That equates to a -0.6% growth rate over that time period, which ranks 31st nationally. Over the course of the past year, Arizona ranks 19th nationally in construction job growth at 5.5% thanks to 5,600 jobs the sector added between April 2015 and April 2016.
Arizona’s month over month loss in construction employment — along with larger job losses in education and health services, financial activities, other services, financial activities and manufacturing — contributed to an increase in the unemployment rate in the state, which rose from 5.4% in March to 5.5% in April, according to seasonally-adjusted numbers from the Arizona Department of Administration’s monthly employment report. Arizona’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dropped 0.5% year over year.
The state’s current unemployment rate is 0.5% higher than the national unemployment rate.
Nevada ranked 40th in the nation in monthly construction employment growth in April with a rate of -1.6%, which equates to 1,600 jobs lost in the month. The year-over-year numbers are more positive as the construction industry’s 9.3% growth rate compared to last year is the highest non-seasonally adjusted rate posted by any sector in the state, according to the state’s monthly employment press release. Between April 2015 and April 2016, the construction industry added 6,100 jobs, according to non-seasonally adjusted numbers.
The state’s 10.2% seasonally-adjusted construction employment growth rate ranks third in the nation.
Overall, Nevada had a seasonally-adjusted non-farm employment change of 400 jobs between March and April and the state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.8%, which is 0.8% above the national rate. April marked the 64th straight month of job growth in Nevada.
“I'm encouraged by the durability of our economic recovery in Nevada,” says Governor Brian Sandoval in the release. “Jobs have grown for 64 straight months and the state’s unemployment rate has been trending down for 62 consecutive months. Nevada’s population growth is fourth-strongest in the nation as our labor market continues on its path to recovery. High-quality, good-paying jobs are fueling our dynamic growth as demonstrated by the announcement that wages are at an all-time high, another impressive milestone for Nevada’s job creators.”
New Mexico
New Mexico lost 700 construction jobs between March and April and posted a -1.6% employment growth rate in the sector, which ties the state with Nevada for 40th nationally. New Mexico’s year over year construction employment remained stagnant with 0 jobs added, according to seasonally-adjusted numbers.
However, on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the state lost 900 construction jobs year over year. That marks the first time the construction industry has posted a year over year employment loss in the state since April 2014, according to the state’s monthly employment news release.
Overall, New Mexico added 3,000 jobs between March and April, bolstered by growth in education and health services. However, the state lost 300 jobs year over year, according to non-seasonally adjusted numbers. New Mexico’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.2% in April, 1.2% above the national unemployment rate.