The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, February 11, 2011

Slowly, Michigan sees rise in construction employment

By The Building Tradesman

Michigan is slowly, agonizingly, seeing an increase in month-to-month construction employment.

In the latest employment numbers released Jan. 25 by the Associated General Contractors, Michigan’s month-to-month (November to December ) construction employment grew by 0.7 percent – representing a grand total of 800 workers back on the job. That marks the third straight month of tiny employment gains for our state: during the two-month period of October through November , 1,500 construction workers were added to payrolls, a 1.5 percent increase from September ’s numbers.

The year-to-year construction employment comparisons for Michigan are uglier, but they’re getting less ugly compared to past numbers and to other states. Michigan’s construction workforce was 1.4 percent smaller in December 2010 than in 2009 – but that loss ranked us No. 22 among the states. Larger year-to-year losses resulted in Michigan’s No. 34 ranking in October and a No. 33 ranking in November .

Nevada, which not long ago boomed with new construction employment opportunities, has been, and remains, the nation’s basket case for the building trades. Construction employment dropped in that state by 19.1 percent from December 2009 to December 2010, representing a loss of 13,500 jobs. Second-worst in that category was Idaho (-11.7 percent) followed by Kentucky (-10.4 percent).

Leading the nation in construction employment gains during that 12-month period were Oklahoma (+9.2 percent), Texas (+5.8 percent) and Kansas (+4.6 percent).