Construction employment increased in 38 states and Washington, D.C., between November 2018 and November 2019, according to an analysis of government data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). The 12-month increase is a step back from year-over-year (YOY) increases reported in recent months. Forty-one states and D.C. added construction jobs in the period between October 2018 and October 2019 and 39 states and D.C. added construction jobs in the 12-month periods after September 2018 and August 2018.

The AGC also reported construction employment increased in 18 states between October and November, much lower than recent month-to-month employment changes found by the AGC. For the past four monthly reports, around 30 states have added construction jobs on a month-to-month basis.

A recent survey by the AGC found that most contractors expect to keep adding workers in 2020, but many report they are finding it hard to fill positions and anticipate it will be hard to hire employees. The survey found 75% of respondents expected to add new workers, but 81% of respondents reported difficulty filling hourly craft or salaried positions.

“It is encouraging that so many contractors were able to add employees even with overall unemployment at a 50-year low and construction job openings at a record high,” said Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “Our survey found that contractors in all parts of the country remain optimistic about demand for projects, and they intend to increase headcount in 2020, but finding workers is a major challenge.”

In the 12-month period after November 2018, Texas, California, and Florida added the most construction jobs YOY while Nevada, New Mexico, and New Hampshire added the highest percentage of construction jobs. Construction employment reached record highs in Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington. Louisiana shed the largest number and the largest percentage of construction jobs in the past 12 months.

On a month-to-month basis, Texas, Georgia, Nevada, and Oregon added the most construction jobs while Nevada, Oregon, and Montana added the highest percentage of construction jobs. Minnesota lost the most construction jobs and the largest percentage of industry jobs between October and November.