AGC: 16 states added construction jobs in last 20 months

By |  November 23, 2021


Only 16 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs since just before the start of the pandemic in February 2020, according to the latest Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) analysis of federal data.

AGC officials note that prospects for the sector’s recovery will be lessened if the Build Back Better bill becomes law. The bill recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives and is awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate.

“Although activity picked up in most states in October, construction employment remains below pre-pandemic levels in two out of three states,” says Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “The record number of job openings shows contractors are eager to hire more workers but can’t find enough qualified applicants.”

From February 2020 to October 2021, construction employment decreased in 33 states, stayed the same in Hawaii and grew in only 16 states, as well as Washington, D.C.

Texas saw the greatest job loss es(46,400 jobs, down 5.9 percent), followed by New York (42,800 jobs, down 10.5 percent) and California (21,300 jobs, down 2.3 percent). Wyoming had the largest percentage of jobs lost (down 14 percent, 3,200 jobs), followed by New York and Vermont (down 9.8 percent, 1,500 jobs).

Utah added the most jobs over the last 20 months (8,200 jobs, up 7.2 percent), followed by North Carolina (7,700 jobs, up 3.3 percent), Washington (4,900 jobs, up 2.2 percent) and Idaho (4,900 jobs, up 8.9 percent). Percentage-wise, South Dakota saw the largest gains (up 10.5 percent, 2,500 jobs) and was followed by Idaho and Utah.

From September to October, 14 states lost construction jobs while 34 gained jobs. Employment remained unchanged in Alabama and Virginia.

In that one-month span, South Carolina lost the most jobs (1,900 jobs, down 1.7 percent) and Missouri lost the second most (1,500 jobs, down 1.2 percent). New Hampshire had the largest percentage of jobs lost in that time (down 2.2 percent, 600 jobs).

During this same period, Louisiana had both the highest number of jobs gained as well as the largest percentage increase (8,200 jobs, up 7.1 percent). California followed in total jobs gained (7,500 jobs, up 0.8 percent), while West Virginia had the second-highest percentage gain (up 2.3 percent, 700 jobs).

AGC officials caution that the Build Back Better bill will undermine the construction sector’s recovery. They note that the measure’s tax and labor provisions will stifle investments in construction activity and make it even harder for firms to find qualified workers to hire.

“The last thing Washington should be doing is making it even harder for firms to find projects to build or workers to hire,” says Stephen Sandherr, AGC’s CEO. “Yet the hyper-partisan Build Back Better bill will hobble employers with new mandates, even as it stifles private sector demand with new taxes and regulations.”

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About the Author:

Jack Kopanski is the Managing Editor of Pit & Quarry and Editor-in-Chief of Portable Plants. Kopanski can be reached at 216-706-3756 or

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