Construction employment expanded in 29 states between September and October, although fewer people are working in construction compared to last year in 39 states, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) reported in an analysis of state employment data released recently by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Arizona (4.4%, 5,000 jobs) experienced the largest one-month seasonally adjusted percentage increase and Texas (2.3%, 8,800 jobs) the largest one-month total increase in construction employment between September and October. Other states adding large numbers of construction jobs during October included Illinois (1.5%, 3,000 jobs); Washington (2.1%, 3,000 jobs); South Carolina (3.2%, 2,500 jobs); and Colorado (1.6%, 1,800 jobs).

According to Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, 20 states plus Washington, D.C., lost construction jobs during the past month while construction employment remained unchanged in Rhode Island. Minnesota (-2.7%, -2,300 jobs) lost the highest percent of construction jobs for the month while Florida lost the most jobs (-2.4%, -8,600 jobs). Among other states losing construction jobs between September and October were Pennsylvania (-1.0%, -2,200 jobs); Maryland (-1.3%, -1,900 jobs); Georgia (-1.2%, -1,800 jobs); and Massachusetts (-1.4%, -1,500 jobs).

Washington, D.C., and 11 states added construction jobs for the year, Simonson adds. The largest year-over-year percentage increase was in Kansas, where construction employment rose 9.0% (5,100 jobs), followed by Oklahoma (8.1%, 5,400 jobs); Arkansas (5.1%, 2,600 jobs); Washington D.C. (4.6%, 500 jobs); and West Virginia (3.3%, 1,100 jobs).

Among the 39 states that lost construction jobs over the past year, Nevada experienced the largest decline (-19.5%, -14,500) while California lost the most jobs (-45,700, -7.9%). Other states experiencing large drops for the year include Idaho (-15.2%, -5,000 jobs); Vermont (-13.4%, -1,800 jobs); Montana (-10.5%, -2,500 jobs); and Missouri (-10.3%, -11,900 jobs).

Association officials say temporary stimulus funding has helped the industry, but that most firms were worried about business levels for next year. Private, state, and local demand for construction remains weak, and long-term federal infrastructure programs/tax rates remain in limbo. View employment figures by state or by rank.