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Construction jobs increase in California, 34 other states

March 13, 2012|By Nancy Rivera Brooks
  • A construction worker in Los Angeles.
A construction worker in Los Angeles. (Associated Press )

Construction employment grew in 35 states in January from December, with California adding the most jobs -- 8,900, or a 1.6% increase.

Thirteen states posted decreases in construction jobs and two states had no change, according to an analysis of Labor Department data by the Associated General Contractors of America.

"There is accumulating evidence that construction has passed its low point in a majority of states, although shrinking public construction will hold down the improvement in many locations," Ken Simonson, chief economist for the trade group, said in a statement.

Compared with a year earlier, 28 states added construction jobs in January, 20 states lost jobs and two were unchanged. That was the best showing for state construction employment since 2007, the trade group said.

"Moreover, the gains this January partly reflect very mild weather this winter and exceptionally cold and snowy conditions a year before," Simonson said.

Construction was among the sectors hit hardest by the recession and the bursting of the housing bubble.

Most of the recent construction employment improvements have come from the private sector, and the contractors group has been busy lobbying Congress to approve some delayed infrastructure measures, including a surface transportation bill that would help fund highway and other transportation projects. The organization's statement said it also wants lawmakers "to set long-term tax rates that impact many of the association's members."

"Even as the private sector continues to build steam, we want to make sure federal actions and inactions don’t hold the construction industry back," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive. "Setting infrastructure investments levels and establishing some kind of tax certainty would complement the growing private-sector demand for construction and help put even more people back to work."

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