AGC: Construction employment up in some states, down in others

By |  December 18, 2020


Construction employment in November remained below pre-pandemic levels in 35 states and the District of Columbia, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) reports.

Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia, however, added construction jobs from October to November, according to an analysis AGC did of government employment data.

In light of this development, AGC officials are urging federal officials to swiftly renew a program to enable firms to keep workers on their payrolls while the pandemic is pushing back the start date for many projects.

“An increase in project cancellations and postponements is forcing nonresidential contractors to lay off workers as they complete projects started before the pandemic and firms exhaust their Paycheck Protection Program loans,” says Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “Despite strong demand for single-family homebuilding and remodeling, overall industry employment is likely to shrink in more states in the absence of federal assistance.”

Seasonally adjusted construction employment in November was lower than in February – the last month before the pandemic forced many contractors to suspend work – in 37 states, Simonson says.

New York lost the most construction jobs over the nine-month period (down 39,700 jobs, 9.7 percent), followed by Texas (down 37,200 jobs, 4.7 percent). Vermont experienced the largest percentage loss (down 24.5 percent, 3,600 jobs), followed by North Dakota (down 13.9 percent, 4,100 jobs).

Only 15 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs from February to November, AGC adds. Virginia added the most jobs and the highest percentage (11,800 jobs, 5.8 percent), followed by Utah (5,800 jobs, 5.1 percent).

Construction employment decreased from October to November in 17 states. It increased in 31 states and the District of Columbia, and it was unchanged in Maine and Nebraska.

California had the largest loss of construction jobs from October to November (down 5,800 jobs, 0.7 percent), followed by New Jersey (down 3,800 jobs, 2.5 percent) and Nevada (down 3,700 jobs, 3.9 percent). Nevada had the largest percentage decline, followed by South Dakota (down 3.8 percent, 1,000 jobs).

Texas added the most construction jobs over the month (7,500 jobs, or 1 percent), followed by Pennsylvania (4,300 jobs, 1.7 percent). Delaware had the largest percentage gain for the month (3.8 percent, 800 jobs), followed by Utah (2.6 percent, 3,000 jobs).

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Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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