The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, January 12, 2018

Construction employment up as 2017 was closing

By The Building Tradesman

Michigan was one of 40 states that added construction jobs between November 2016 and November 2017, winding down a good year in good shape.

The Associated General Contractors reported on Dec. 22 that Michigan's construction employment grew by 800 construction jobs from October to November 2017 - only a .5 percent gain - but it was on the plus side, and it was part of a gain of 3,700 jobs during the course of a 12-month period ending in November. Michigan's 2.3 percent employment gain ranked No. 32 among the states during that 12-month period. 

“There were robust construction gains in most parts of the country as the economy continues to expand,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer for the AGC.  “Demand should continue to grow as newly enacted tax cuts and regulatory reforms stimulate even more widespread economic growth.”

The AGC and other industry prognosticators have said that many construction firms have high expectations for 2018. They said that the construction marketplace should be helped by the Trump Administration's "efforts to reduce needless regulatory burdens and newly enacted tax cuts."

Michigan employed 163,400 construction workers in November 2017, vs. a workforce of 159,700 12 months earlier.

California added the most construction jobs (+48,400 jobs, +6.2 percent) during that 12-month period. Florida, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania also saw strong spikes in higher employment. By percentage, Nevada (+13.8, +10,900 jobs) topped the nation in new construction jobs. 

Among the leading states on the wrong end of job creation between November 2016 and November 2017 were Iowa (-6,100 jobs, -7.5 percent) followed by Missouri, North Dakota, Montana and South Dakota.

Meanwhile, the American Institute of Architects reported the November Architectural Billings Index score was 55.0, up from a score of 51.7 in the previous month. This score reflects an increase in design services provided by U.S. architecture firms (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 61.1, up from a reading of 60.2 the previous month, while the new design contracts index rose slightly from 52.8 to 53.2.

“Not only are design billings overall seeing their strongest growth of the year, the strength is reflected in all major regions and construction sectors,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker. “The construction industry continues to show surprising momentum heading into 2018.”