Larger Job Gains Across Fewer States in April


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 26 states and the District of Columbia, was unchanged in two states, and decreased in 22 states in April 2018 compared to March 2018. Over the month of March, jobs rose across 34 states, but declined in seven, with nine states flat. Although job growth was more geographically expansive over the month of March relative to the month of April, the average number of jobs created over the smaller number of increasing states in April was greater, 6,811 jobs created over the 26 states and DC in April relative to 4,912 jobs created over the 34 expanding states in March. Nationwide, the pace of monthly job growth in April, 164,000, was faster than the increase in March, 103,000. Year-over-year, 48 states and the District of Columbia increased in employment while two states, Alaska and North Dakota, lost payroll employment during this time.

Year-over-year, ending in April, 14 states recorded annualized growth above 1.6% in employment, which was the national growth rate. Nevada posted the highest growth at 3.4% where they added 45,300 workers during this time. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia recorded annualized growth between 0.2%-1.5% while Alaska and North Dakota recorded declines in employment.

The majority of states which recorded growth were in the western and the southern (including South Atlantic) region of the country. Out of the top 10, eight of these states are located in the West and two are in the South (Texas and Florida).

The economies of both Alaska and North Dakota are supported by the energy sector. The employment decline across these two states may have been attributable to energy-related employment. However, year-over-year, Alaska had a 0.8% growth in mining and logging sector employment while employment in this sector across the state of North Dakota grew by 15.0%. In addition, other states typically considered as “energy states”, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming, also recorded growth in their mining and logging sectors. This suggests that the energy sector is not directly contributing to the decline in employment in Alaska and North Dakota.

Instead, the largest decline in employment across the state of Alaska was recorded in Information sector, followed by Other Services and Financial Activities. In North Dakota, Construction employment declined by 17.0% contributing to an overall decline in employment in the state. Leisure & Hospitality and Information sectors also posted significant declines during the last 12 months. Although the evidence indicates that energy-related employment was not directly responsible for the decline in employment across Alaska and North Dakota, the declines in these sectors may be a response to energy-related weakness in the past. NAHB will continue to monitor these dynamics in the face of rising oil prices.

In the construction sector specifically, which includes both residential and non-residential construction, across the 44 states which reported construction sector jobs data, 27 states had an increase in April, 15 states reported a decline, and two remained unchanged compared to March. Construction sector posted a net gain of 17,000 jobs which is 0.2 percentage points higher than in March.

Between March and April 2018, Louisiana had the largest increase in job growth with 1.5% followed by New Hampshire (1.4%) and Kentucky (1.4%). The largest decline was in North Dakota where total employment in construction fell by 2.8. During this time, Wisconsin and Indiana declined by 1.6%.

Year-over-year, The U.S added 257,000 construction sector jobs which is a 3.7% increase in net gains. West Virginia had the highest annual growth in construction sector by 11.6%. Nevada (9.8%), and Arizona (8.2%) round out the top three. Over this period, North Dakota reported the largest decline at 17.0%, followed by Iowa (3.2%) and South Carolina (1.4%).

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