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State and nation add construction jobs in March

Between February and March, contractors added 300 jobs in the state, increasing to 178,700 the number of construction employees from 178,400, according to a release from Associated General Contractors. Between March 2013 and March 2014, 5,900 construction jobs were added in the state, 19th-best in the country.

“The widespread gains in employment from a year ago are encouraging, given the tough winter many states experienced right through March,” Ken Simonson, the AGC’s chief economist, said in the release. “The never-ending winter of 2014 may account for the dip in the number of states that added construction jobs in the latest month, but it is also possible that single-family homebuilders are not adding workers as some forecasters expected.”

Two dozen states and Washington, D.C., added construction jobs between February and March, led by Ohio, which added 4,600 jobs. North Dakota had the highest percentage increase of employment for the month, at 3.4 percent, or 1,100 jobs. Louisiana ranked second in the number and percentage of monthly job gains, adding 4,300 jobs, or 3.3 percent.

Construction employment between February and March declined in 23 states and remained unchanged in Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming. Texas lost the most jobs, 5,300, followed by Illinois, at 2,800 jobs. New Mexico saw the highest monthly percentage decline, 4.2 percent or 1,800 jobs, followed by Alaska, down 2.9 percent or 500 jobs, and Kentucky, down 2.2 percent or 1,500 jobs.

“With each passing month, it becomes clearer that contractors in most states are hiring both experienced and new workers,” Stephen Sandherr, the AGC’s CEO, said in the release. “It is essential for federal, state and local officials to clear roadblocks and adopt policies that will attract more workers into the industry.”

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