In general, late 2018 showed solid job numbers in the Southwest region of Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. Major building projects, ranging from entertainment to housing, drove growth in all three states.
From November 2017 to November 2018, Arizona added 18,500 construction jobs, the fourth most in the U.S, trailing Texas, Florida, and California. Nevada added 9,900 year-over-year. Percentage-wise, Arizona and Nevada rank No. 2 and 3 in year-over-year construction job gains.
From Oct. 2018 to November 2018, Arizona was fourth in added construction jobs with 1,900. Nevada added 1,100 construction jobs month-over-month and New Mexico added 400.
Nationally, November 2018 was the first month in the year which fewer than half the states experienced monthly increases in construction employment, says chief economist Ken Simonson, adding, “At a time when job openings are at record highs, the recent slowdown in hiring in some states may indicate contractors are unable to find qualified workers, rather than a slackening in demand for construction.”
According to the Associated General Contractors of America, the Grand Canyon State had 168,000 people working construction jobs in November 2018. Arizona also added 1,100 jobs in November 2018, the state Office of Economic Opportunity reported.
Employment in Arizona increased 3.6% year over year. From November 2017 to November 2018, Arizona recorded a net gain of 103,200 nonfarm jobs, with the majority 98,800 in the private sector. The construction sector only trailed professional and business service in job creation year-over-year.
Of the 18,500 construction jobs created year-over-year in Arizona, 17,500 of those jobs were located in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Notable projects in the area include the 37,000-acre Douglas Ranch in Buckeye and the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway and widening of Loop 101.
The Silver State reported 97,600 people working in the construction sector as of December 2018, according to the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
Year-over-year from November 2017 to November 2018, the construction sector has added the most jobs, with a gain of 7,900 or 9.5%.
“Construction is continuing to add jobs at a rapid pace, and yet is still around 50,000 jobs less than in 2006,” says David Schmidt, chief economist for the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
Growth continues to be on hot streak for the state, as more major projects are underway in Las Vegas, including the MSG Sphere, Raiders stadium and practice facility/headquarters in Henderson, Las Vegas Convention Center expansion (where the Riviera Hotel-Casino once stood), Resorts World International and a convention center for Wynn Resorts. All of these projects are slated to open in 2020. There’s also Project NEON, which involves widening 3.7 miles of Interstate 15.
In Northern Nevada, the mixed-use Park Lane Mall project in Reno has garnered considerable attention for its downtown location. There are also two major student housing projects in the works: Canyon Flats and Park7.
In New Mexico, 50,900 had construction jobs in November 2018, a 3,000-job gain from November 2017, according to the Department of Workforce Solutions.
The Land of Enchantment’s biggest city, Albuquerque, is the site of the future Sunport South Business Park. The University of New Mexico will have a new Physics and Astronomy Department building, while work has begun on Nuevo Atrisco, a 6-acre project featuring housing, office and retail.
The state’s capitol, Santa Fe, is also experiencing a boom in both affordable and multifamily housing.