Construction employment increased in 34 states and Washington, D.C., in the 2019 calendar year, according to an analysis of government data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). The full-year, 12-month increase is a step down from year-over-year increases reported in the months preceding December. Thirty-eight states and Washington, D.C., added construction jobs between November 2018 and November 2019 and 41 states and Washington, D.C., added construction jobs between between October 2018 and October 2019.

The AGC also reported construction industry employment increased in 29 states from November and December. The month-to-month changes are in line with recent data reports. Four of the previous five months saw construction employment increase in 30 or more states, with November being the only exception.

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.

“Construction employment consistently expanded in at least two-thirds of the states throughout 2019, even though contractors reported difficulty in finding qualified workers all year long,” said AGC chief economist Ken Simonson. “As long as they are able to continue finding qualified workers, most firms expect to continue hiring this year.”

In the 2019 calendar year, Texas, California, and Florida added the most construction jobs in pure numbers, while Maine, New Mexico, and Utah added the highest percentage of construction jobs in 2019. Construction employment reached record highs in Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington, according to the AGC. Ohio, Louisiana, and Minnesota lost the most construction jobs in 2019, while Wyoming, West Virginia, and Connecticut lost the largest percentage of industry jobs in the calendar year.

On a month-to-month basis, Texas added the most construction jobs in pure numbers and Iowa added the highest percentage of construction jobs. Nevada lost the largest number of construction jobs from November to December, while West Virginia experienced the largest month-to-month employment decrease.