Illinois dropped 400 construction jobs last month but added 7,900 since last year


Chicago Construction news staff writer

Construction employment increased in 45 states in August from a year earlier. Also, 32 states and D.C. added construction employees from July to August, according to an analysis of federal employment data recently released by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America.

In Illinois, there was a 0.2 per cent drop in August, but the state added 7,900 construction jobs over the past year.

“Construction has been a leading source of employment growth almost universally in the past year,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “But contractors report needing even more workers as large projects rev up across the country.”

Between August 2022 and August 2023, 45 states and D.C. added construction jobs, while industry employment declined in five states. Texas added the most construction jobs over the year (21,100 jobs or 2.7 percent), followed by California (15,600 jobs, 1.7 percent), Ohio (11,600 jobs, 5.0 percent), and Georgia (10,600 jobs, 5.0 percent). Wyoming had the largest percentage increase in construction jobs over 12 months (13.0 percent, 2,700 jobs), followed by Arkansas (9.9 percent, 5,800 jobs), Kentucky (9.2 percent, 7,700 jobs), West Virginia (8.6 percent, 2,600 jobs), and New Mexico (7.3 percent, 3,600 jobs).

California also added the most jobs over the month (4,700 jobs, 0.5 percent), followed by Arizona (3,500 jobs, 1.8 percent), Pennsylvania (3,300 jobs, 1.2 percent), South Carolina (2,600 jobs, 2.3 percent) and Nevada (2,600 jobs, 2.3 percent). The largest percentage gain occurred in Wyoming (3.5 percent, 800 jobs), followed by Kentucky (2.5 percent, 2,200 jobs), South Carolina, and Nevada.

Association officials said many contractors report that one of the biggest challenges they have in adding staff is that many candidates lack the qualifications needed to be employable. The association officials urged federal, state and local policy makers to rethink how they prepare future workers to ensure they have the hard and soft skills needed to be successful in high-paying career fields like construction.

“The good news is construction demand remains strong in many parts of the country,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “But until we as a nation do a better job preparing future workers, employers in sectors like construction will continue to struggle to find enough qualified people to hire.”


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