Construction jobs rose in 26 states in March

More than 26 states added construction jobs in March, according to Nationally, 15,000 new construction jobs were added, which is the industry's first net gain since June 2007.

Maryland added the most construction jobs and led in overall hiring in March; the state added 36,000 new jobs, with nearly 15 percent of those—about 5,200 jobs—in construction.

Some analysts warn the significant job gains in various Mid-Atlantic states, which experienced severe snowstorms in February, may not necessarily reflect recovery.

"It's too early to tell whether these numbers reflect the start of a positive trend or the effect of a warm March following a snowy February," says Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America.

States that have been hit hardest by the housing collapse experienced mixed results regarding construction hiring. Florida gained 1,700 new construction jobs as its overall hiring fell by 4,000, but Nevada's construction employment continues to decline.

Simonson says even if a positive trend is beginning to occur, the construction industry still has a long climb just to reach a normal level. However, the new "normal" for the construction industry may be far below what was observed during homebuilding’s peak.

The National Association of Business Economics expects construction employment to rise 25 percent to 770,000 in California by 2015. That meets the state's 2000 construction employment level and is about 30 percent below its peak in 2006.

Simonson says though stimulus-driven projects should increase construction during the coming months, it's not enough to significantly affect the more than 2 million construction jobs lost during the past two years.

Date : 4/20/2010