According to the Regional and State Employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall construction employment is growing relatively faster in states in New England and the Pacific Division.
The number of new residential housing starts depends on both supply and demand considerations. Housing demand supports rental and owner-occupied residential construction. However, housing supply is dependent, in part, on the ability of builders to obtain and contract with workers. These employment effects in turn generate economic benefits for local economies.
NAHB’s analysis of February regional employment data from the BLS shows that states with the highest annual growth rates of total construction employment are Hawaii (19.09%), Rhode Island (14.63%), Massachusetts (10.97%), New Hampshire (10.17%) , and Tennessee (8.80%).
A shortage of skilled residential construction labor remains one of the biggest challenges for builders. Forty-three states and District of Columbia experienced positive year-over-year changes in construction employment in February, compared to forty-four states three months ago. Seven states lost construction jobs in February 2016. The largest construction job losses were recorded by the energy producing states, which are deeply affected by the plunging oil prices, such as North Dakota, Alaska, and Wyoming. On a month-over-month basis, around 60% of states reported gains in construction employment in March, with the largest increases registered by Washington (3.10%).
Regional employment is an important element of determining housing demand. The BLS state level data suggest that all but seven states reported an annual gain in payroll employment, with the exception of Alaska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, West Virginia, Wyoming, and North Dakota. The top three states with the largest gains were all in the West and include Idaho (3.97%), Utah (3.27%), and Oregon (3.14%).