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Alex Carrick, Chief Economist at ConstructConnect
Alex Carrick, Chief Economist at ConstructConnect
Alex Carrick is Chief Economist for ConstructConnect. He is a frequent contributor to the Daily Commercial News and the Journal of Commerce. He has delivered presentations throughout North America on the Canadian, United States and world construction outlooks. A trusted and often-quoted source for … More »

Series (7 of 7): Rankings of States by Industrial Sub-Sector Jobs – Construction

February 22nd, 2019 by Alex Carrick, Chief Economist at ConstructConnect

Article source: ConstructConnect

This article is the seventh, or final one, in a series of seven that examines key industrial sectors to determine where they are most significant regionally. Rankings of state strength in each industrial sub-sector are based on both ‘weight’ and ‘concentration’ of relevant employment.

‘Weight’ is simply the number of jobs in the industrial sub-sector in each state. ‘Concentration’ is each state’s number of jobs in the sub-sector divided by the state’s population. In effect, it’s a ‘per capita’ figure, except that it’s expressed as number of jobs per million population.

By ‘weight’, the states with the largest populations are almost always high in the rankings. The rankings by ‘concentration’, however, often expose some unexpected winners.

State Tiers:

It’s important to know that three clear groupings of states emerge from an analysis of the Census Bureau’s latest (i.e., through July 1, 2018) population statistics. Those groupings are: (A) the four frontrunner states by nominal levels of population – California, Texas, Florida and New York; (B) the three states with the fastest year-over-year gains in population – Nevada, Idaho and Utah; and (C) another tier of six states with both strong nominal increases and percentage changes in  resident counts over the past several years – Washington, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, Colorado and South Carolina. (Please insert link to recent article about population growth. )

State Leaders in Construction Sector Jobs – Highlights:  

(1) America’s four biggest-population states (CA TX FL and NY) are also at the forefront when it comes to number of construction jobs. Counting more than 850,000 ‘hard hat’ workers among its labor pool, California is number one for ‘weight’ with an 11.9% slice of the 7.5 million U.S. total. Texas is not far behind, claiming a 10.6% share. Florida (7.5%) and New York (5.5%) are in third and fourth spots.

(2) I’m fond of pointing out that one in three Americans lives in California, Texas, Florida or New York. A similar story can be told concerning construction workers. A slightly more than one-third (35.5%) proportion of all U.S. on-site employees resides in CA, TX, FL or NY.

(3) While there are no Tier B states among the Top 12 on the ‘weight’ (i.e., left-hand) side of the table, mainly because they have low population bases, three of the six Tier C states pop up – North Carolina, Washington and Georgia. Through November of 2018, on a year-over-year basis, housing starts in North Carolina and Washington were up modestly; but in Georgia, they were ahead by a more substantial +17%.

(4) The importance of population growth to construction employment is made clear on the ‘concentration’ side of the table. All three Tier B states (i.e., those with the fastest year-over-year percentage changes in population) are among the Top 12 on the right-hand side of the table – Utah (with a 3rd-place ranking), Nevada (5th) and Idaho (8th).

(5) The populations of Colorado and Washington (both Tier B states) are also increasing rapidly and they are present in the best-dozen for ‘concentration’ on the right-hand side of the table. Washington, which is immersed in a high-tech boom, is the only state making it into the Top 12 for both ‘weight’ and ‘concentration’. Presently, quality job opportunities and plentiful construction cranes are two dominant features of Seattle-Tacoma in the Pacific northwest.

(6) Some of the other states with high-rankings for ‘concentration’ have been given boosts by especially large-project start-ups over the past couple of years. In North Dakota, it’s been wind-generated electric power and crude oil refinery work; in Utah, airport construction and a new Facebook data center; in Louisiana, a natural gas-powered electricity plant; in Nevada, an NFL football stadium and a new Apple data center; and in Colorado, a mega-sized wind power project.

(7) Wyoming has construction projects in Cheyenne, Laramie and Sweetwater County, that while they would not be considered mega-sized, are sufficiently large to raise that state’s jobs per million population to a first-place ranking among all states. Wyoming has nearly 36 construction jobs per million residents compared with the nation-wide figure of just under 22.

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