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State construction jobs continue to increase

The number of construction jobs in North Carolina in October increased 4.2 percent compared with a year ago and 0.6 percent over September, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.

The ACGA reported that there were 180,500 construction jobs in the state in October, up from 179,500 in September; 180,100 in August and 173,300 in October 2013. The state ranked 19th in the growth of jobs nationally month over month and 21st year over year.

Construction firms added jobs in 37 states and the District of Columbia between October 2013 and October 2014 while construction employment increased in 28 states and the District of Columbia between September and October, according to the AGCA’s analysis of Labor Department data.

“These year-over-year and one-month changes show that construction is doing well in most of the country,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Yet, the list of states that have added construction jobs varies from month to month, showing that the industry’s recovery remains vulnerable to worker shortages and unfavorable governmental actions.”

Florida added the most construction jobs of any state between October 2013 and October 2014, followed by Texas, California, Illinois and Utah. North Dakota added the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year, followed by Utah, Florida, Illinois and Wisconsin.

Twelve states shed construction jobs during the past 12 months, with construction employment unchanged in Hawaii. The largest percentage and total losses occurred in New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia and Kentucky.

Association officials said one reason job growth remains inconsistent in certain states is that many firms are struggling to cope with growing worker shortages, new regulatory burdens and flat, or declining, public sector investments in infrastructure and construction.

“Many firms are having a hard time expanding their payrolls as wages rise, costs grow and market demand remains varies greatly from one segment to the next,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

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