Construction employment rose in 35 states in January from the previous month, with California staffing the most positions. The employment information came from an analysis of Labor Department data conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America, according to a statement released on March 13.
A total of 28 states added jobs in the industry in the year that elapsed between January 2011 and the same month in 2012, the media outlet reports. Two states had no change in the construction labor market. The organization told the Los Angeles Times that the one-year period was the best for construction staffing in the different states since 2007.
The majority of the recent job growth in construction has been spurred by the private sector, and the organization for contractors has been lobbying Washington lawmakers to approve infrastructure projects that have been delayed, according to the news source. The group wants to see the passage of a surface transportation bill that would provide the money needed to fund various projects that would benefit the construction sector.
"Even as the private sector continues to build steam, we want to make sure federal actions and inactions don’t hold the construction industry back," Stephen E. Sandherr, the chief executive of the Associated General Contractors of America, told the media outlet. "Setting infrastructure investments levels and establishing some kind of tax certainty would complement the growing private-sector demand for construction and help put even more people back to work."
Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, said in the statement that the figures represent "accumulating evidence that construction has passed its low point in a majority of states, although shrinking public construction will hold down the improvement in many locations."
He added that "moreover, the gains this January partly reflect very mild weather this winter and exceptionally cold and snowy conditions a year before."
The state that added the most construction positions between January of 2011 and 2012 was Pennsylvania, staffing 13,000 jobs, according to Philadelphia Business Journal. The job growth represented a 6 percent increase in construction employment. New Jersey created 3,200 new industry positions during the period, increasing employment by 2.5 percent.
At any rate, the staffing activity happening in these states will need to rise considerably before it hits the levels it experienced during the real estate boom.