State sheds construction jobs at worst rate in nation

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,604 views 

According to a new analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Arkansas lost about 1,500 construction jobs from March to April this year. The 2.7% decline — from 55,200 to 53,700 — ranks last among 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“Construction employment gains have stalled in many states in recent months as the pool of available workers has dried up,” AGC chief economist Ken Simonson said. “It will be hard to satisfy demand for private projects and infrastructure unless more workers are available to fill the record number of openings.”

However, there was some good news in the latest AGC report. Arkansas had about 400 more construction jobs in April compared to February 2020, which represents a 0.8% increase. That ranks No. 31 in terms of growth as measured by percentage.

According to the AGC analysis, construction employment in April exceeded pre-pandemic levels in 32 states.

Simonson noted that government data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show 415,000 construction job openings at the end of March. That was the highest March total since the series began in 2001 and constituted a 20% jump in openings from one year earlier.

Openings exceeded the 388,000 employees hired during that month, implying that construction firms would have added twice as many employees if they had been available.

Arkansas employment in the construction sector in April, the latest data available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, was 53,700, down from 55,100 in April 2021, and also below the 55,200 in March. The sector reached record employment of 57,700 in April 2006.