With losses of 6,900 jobs (-3.6%) Illinois logged the fourth steepest decline in construction employment in the nation in October, according data compiled by Arlington, Va.-based Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

In year-over-year comparisons, construction employment also slipped in Michigan (4,500, 3.7 percent) and Wisconsin (-1,500, -1.8%).

The news was better for other states in the region, with Indiana logging the sixth-largest employment gains (7,400, 6%) of any state in the nation. Ohio (1,000, +0.6%) and Missouri (300, +0,3) logged more modest gains in October.

The data are consistent with trends that find Indiana and Ohio beneficiaries of Detroit's resurgent automobile sector and Illinois a casualty of Chicago's beleaguered economy, the result of the 2008 housing bust, among other factors.

As in previous months, Illinois lost nearly as many jobs as Indiana gained.


In all, construction employment declined in 28 states from October 2011 to October 2012. even as 31 states and the District of Columbia added jobs over the same period, according to AGC's analysis of Labor Department data.

“The industry remains stuck in neutral, with close balance each month between the number of states that add or lose construction jobs,” says AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson. “Despite a strong pickup in home building and multi-family construction, uncertainty about [the nation's looming] fiscal cliff appears to be holding back private investment, while public agencies keep trimming construction budgets.”

“If Washington officials can't find a solution to the fiscal cliff, we run the risk of putting the economy into another downward spiral,” says AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. “After years of difficult economic conditions, many firms will be forced to downsize if the economy begins to shrink.”