Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada joined 36 other states and Washington, D.C. that gained construction jobs between July 2015 and July 2016. However, Arizona was the only state in the Southwest to add jobs month-over-month in July, according to seasonally-adjusted numbers from the Associated General Contractors of America.
A lack of qualified labor continues to plague the industry, according to a survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America. It states that two-thirds of construction employers are having a difficult time finding candidates to fill craft positions.
Arizona’s construction industry experienced more job growth than any other sector in July, adding 2,200 jobs in the month. It was one of only three sectors that did not face employment losses in the month. Overall, Arizona lost 14,800 non-farm jobs between June and July, according to non-seasonally adjusted numbers included in the state’s monthly employment report.
Construction gained 800 seasonally-adjusted jobs in between June and July of this year. The sector’s month-over-month growth rate of 0.6% ranks 18th nationally. On a yearly basis, Arizona added 10,900 jobs between July 2015 and July 2016, which is good for a 8.6% growth rate that ranks fifth nationally, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.
Beyond construction, professional and business services and financial services were the only other two industries to gain jobs month-over-month in July in Arizona. In what is becoming a trend, the government sector led the state in job losses, losing, 10,300 jobs in the month. With those losses, Arizona also saw its seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate rise 0.2% between June and July to 6.0%. The national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9%.
Construction experienced a small job loss in Nevada between June and July, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. The sector shed 200 jobs and ranked 28th nationally with a -0.2% growth rate in the industry. The industry’s yearly numbers were positive, though, as the state added 5,500 jobs between July 2015 and July 2016. That equates to a 7.9% growth rate that ranks seventh nationally.
Year-to-date, the construction industry added 6,400 jobs through July.
Overall, the state’s employment outlook is mixed. While seasonally-adjusted numbers have the state adding 4,700 jobs between June and July, the unadjusted figures show the state lost 5,500 jobs in the month. The state’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate rose 0.1% to 6.5% between June and July, and is 1.6% higher than the national average.
“Given that job trends are impressive and unemployment insurance claims activity is holding relatively steady at pre-recession levels, it is a challenge to understand the upward pressure on the jobless rate,” says Bill Anderson, chief economist for Nevada’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, in a press release. “Our expectations are that, once the annual benchmark (revision) process is complete in early-2017, updated estimates will likely show the opposite is more accurate, and that the unemployment rate is, in fact, trending down, as it has since 2011, alongside an improving employment situation.”
New Mexico
The construction industry added 400 non-seasonally adjusted jobs in New Mexico between June and July. Seasonally-adjusted numbers, on the other hand, show the state lost 200 jobs in the sector over the same time span. That growth rate of -0.5% ranks 31st nationally.
The construction industry’s year-over-year employment numbers are similarly murky. The state added 400 seasonally-adjusted jobs between July 2015 and July 2016, which equates to a 0.9% growth rate that ranks 33rd nationally. However, non-adjusted numbers have the state losing 5,500 construction jobs year over year during that time.
Total non-farm employment fell in New Mexico by 2,400 jobs between June and July and the unemployment rate remained stagnant at 6.2%, which marks a 0.4% drop from the same time last year. The state also gained 14,000 non-farm jobs between July 2015 and July 2016.