The Southwest construction job market is still growing, although overall regional construction jobs continue to trail historic construction employment levels set in June 2006 by more than 140,000 jobs.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data reveals Arizona paced the nation in percentage of added construction jobs, increasing from October 2017 to October 2018 by 12.1%. Nevada is No. 2 in the same timeframe with a 11.4% increase and New Mexico is up 7.3%, good for No. 11 in the country.
From September 2018 to October 2018, Arizona is No. 4 in percentage job gain with 1.5%, or 2,500 jobs. Nevada is No. 17 with 0.7%, or 600 jobs added. New Mexico is No. 32 in the nation, adding 0.2%, or 100 jobs. Iowa added the most jobs by percentage in the country month-over-month, followed by Wyoming and Rhode Island.
Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the Association of General Contractors, says although cost increases might stymie growth in the near future, in most areas of the country employers are searching for workers.
“Firms in many parts of the country are hiring as fast as they can find qualified workers just to keep pace with demand,” Sandherr says in a statement.
According to an analysis by Associated General Contractors, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico peaked at construction employment in June 2006 with a combined 450,300 employed in the industry.
As of October 2018, the three states employ a combined 309,000 in the construction industry, down 31% from historical peak construction employment.
Construction employment in Arizona as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was 166,400 in October 2018. When compared month-over-month with other industries in the state, construction trailed professional and business services, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality.
Year-over-year, however, the construction industry added more jobs, 18,000, than any other industry in the state.
Of the 166,400 employed in construction, more than 133,000 are in the Phoenix metropolitan area, according to data from the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity.
Arizona’s overall unemployment was 4.7% in October 2018, up from 4.6% in September 2018. When seasonally adjusted, however, the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity says 16,000 jobs were added in the state.
Construction employment in Nevada, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, was 92,900 in October 2018. The construction industry experienced the second-largest gains of any industry in the state year-over-year, trailing only manufacturing, which is up 13.8% over the year.
“Nevada’s job market continues to expand at a brisk pace, doubling the pace of national job gains over the past year which was near the high end of our recent trend,” says David Schmidt, chief economist for DETR, in a statement. “Employment expanded significantly across many industries including construction, professional and business services, and manufacturing, and continued to drive down unemployment in the state.”
New Mexico
Construction employment in New Mexico as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was 56,900 in October 2018. The construction industry trails only leisure and hospitality in year-over-year job growth, with 7,400 jobs.
Mining and construction employment grew by 3,800 jobs, or 5.5%. Within this supersector as identified by the state of New Mexico, construction increased by 3,300 jobs, or 7%, while mining reported a gain of 500 jobs, or 2.3%.