Southwest States Lag Behind National Construction Employment Trends
April 13, 2017
Construction employment increased across the board in the U.S. in February as 39 states added jobs month-over-month, and 43 states increased employment year-over-year. However, that positive trend skipped the Southwest, by and large.
New Mexico and Nevada saw small construction employment growth between December and January, adding 100 and 500 jobs respectively. Neither state could build on the trend in February, though, as New Mexico added zero jobs in the month and Nevada lost 900 jobs.
Arizona experienced monthly construction job losses in both January and February.
Nevada and Arizona did experience significant year-over-year construction employment growth in both January and February. New Mexico lost jobs year-over-year in both months.
Construction employment was down in Arizona to start the year as the industry lost jobs month-over-month in both January and February, according to seasonally-adjusted statistics from the Associated General Contractors of America. The state’s monthly employment growth ranked in the bottom five nationally in both months as the state shed 1,000 jobs in January (-0.7% growth rate) and 100 jobs in February (-0.1%).
The yearly outlook is more positive for the industry. Arizona added 3,900 seasonally adjusted jobs between January 2016 and January 2017. The state also added 2,900 jobs between February 2016 and February 2017. The year-over-year employment growth rate of 2.2% in February ranked 32nd nationally.
Overall, employment growth has been tepid to start the year in Arizona. The state lost 56,700 nonfarm jobs month-over-month in January. That loss was “more than the post-recessionary (’10-’16) average loss of 51,700 jobs,” according to the state’s employment release. The state added 27,100 non farm jobs between January and February but also saw the unemployment rate rise 0.1% to 5.1%.
That rate is 0.2% higher than the state’s unemployment rate in February 2016 and 0.4% higher than the current national rate.
Construction employment in New Mexico has remained relatively stagnant in 2017 as the state 100 jobs month-over-month in January and added no jobs in February, according to seasonally-adjusted statistics from the Associated General Contractors of America. The state’s construction job growth rate of 0.2% in January ranked 39th nationally.
The year-over-year numbers are slightly worse in New Mexico. The state shed 300 jobs in construction in February and lost 200 jobs in February year-over-year. The state’s negative employment growth rate in the sector ranked in the bottom 10 states nationally in both months.
After losing 19,400 non farm jobs month-over-month in January, New Mexico rebounded in February by adding 11,100 jobs, according to the state’s monthly employment report. The state’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7% between December 2016 and January and rose to 6.8% in February. That rate is 0.2% higher than the unemployment rate in February 2016.
Nevada saw a slight bump in construction employment in January as the state added 500 jobs month-over-month, according to seasonally-adjusted statistics from the Associated General Contractors of America. Nevada then lost 900 construction jobs between January and February, good for a -1.1% growth rate that ranked 48th nationally.
The state’s yearly construction employment outlook is more positive. Nevada added 7,600 construction jobs between January 2016 and January 2017 and added 6,000 jobs between February 2016 and February 2017. The state’s construction employment growth rates of 10.2% in January and 8.0% in February both ranked in the top six states nationally.
In February, Nevada saw its unemployment rate fall below 5% for the first time since November 2007, according to the state’s monthly employment report. The current rate of 4.9% is 0.2% higher than the national average.
Wayne Schutsky contributed to this report.