Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals the Southwest states of Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico have experienced significant growth in construction jobs year-over-year from October 2016 to 2017, but Arizona and New Mexico are not as strong in October 2017 compared to September 2017.
According to analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America, 41 states added construction jobs between October 2016 and October 2017, while 26 states added construction jobs between September and October, continuing a pattern of widespread but uneven growth in industry employment.
The association’s chief economist said recent job gains would have been more widespread if enough qualified workers were available.
“Although construction employment has risen over the past year, many contractors report difficulty finding workers with the right skills,” Ken Simonson said. “Last month, construction employment increased in only half the states, a total that would probably have been higher if workers were available.”
Year-over-year, the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity says the construction industry added 3,000 construction jobs, to 140,500 total construction jobs. The Phoenix-Mesa metropolitan area was the spot where most of the jobs were added, with a 3,900 gain year-over-year. The Tucson and Flagstaff metropolitan areas lost 400 and 100 construction jobs respectively year-over year.
Month-to-month, from September 2017 to October 2017, construction jobs in Arizona held steady, reflective of the state’s overall employment picture. The state gained 18,700 nonfarm jobs (0.7%) in October, although this was less than the post-recessionary (from 2010 to 2016) average gain of 26,500 jobs, according to the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity.
Year-over-year in Nevada, the construction industry gained 8,800 construction jobs from October 2016 to October 2017. Employment experts say construction jobs gains in the Silver State are buoying state employment.
“Over the course of the recovery, job gains have been broad-based and diverse. For instance, the construction industry lost nearly 100,000 jobs during the recession. However, recent gains have been the strongest of any sector in the state. Through the first 10 months of the year, construction employment is up nearly 12 percent,” says Bill Anderson, Chief Economist, Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation.
Month-to-month, Nevada added about 1,000 construction jobs, raising the total number of those employed by the industry to 91,000.
New Mexico added 2,100 jobs year-over-year from October 2016 to October 2017. Month-over-month, the state saw a gain of about 200 jobs. As of October 2017, the Land of Enchantment has about 46,000 employed in the construction industry.