More States See Job Gains in May


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 43 states and the District of Columbia, and decreased in seven states in May 2018 compared to April 2018. Over the month of April, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 26 states and the District of Columbia, was unchanged in two states, and decreased in 22 states compared to March 2018. Nationwide, total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 223,000 over the month of May, faster than the increase of 159,000 jobs in April.


Over the past 12 months, total nonfarm employment in May increased by 2.36 million jobs which is a 1.6% increase compared to May 2017. During this time, total nonfarm employment in the Western region increased by 2.2% and the Southern region increased by 1.9%. In comparison, April added 2.30 million total nonfarm jobs, which is also 1.6% ahead of it level in April 2017.

Year-over-year, 48 states and the District of Columbia increased in employment while two states, Alaska and North Dakota, lost payroll employment during the month of May. The same number of states increased and decreased (Alaska and North Dakota) in employment over the year ending in April. Stronger growth in jobs across the West and the South is broadly consistent with the faster growth in single-family and multifamily permits across these two regions. Meanwhile, the Northeast and Midwest have experienced year-over-year declines in both single-family and multifamily permits.

Year-over-year, ending in May, 20 states recorded annualized growth above 1.6% in employment, which was the national growth rate. Seventeen states out of the 20 which recorded growth above the national growth rate were in the Western and the Southern (including South Atlantic) regions of the country. Utah posted the highest growth at 3.4%, adding 49,800 workers during this time. Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia recorded annualized growth between 0.4%-1.5% while Alaska and North Dakota recorded declines in employment. A previous post suggested that the energy industry in these states is likely not responsible for the employment declines in these two states.

In the construction sector specifically, which includes both residential and non-residential construction, across the 44 states which reported construction sector jobs data, 23 states had an increase in May, 16 states reported a decline, and five remained unchanged compared to April. Construction sector posted a net gain of 25,000 jobs which is 0.3 percentage points higher than in April.

Between April and May 2018, North Dakota had the largest increase in construction job growth with 8.7% followed by Rhode Island (3.2%) and Maine (3.1%). The largest decline was in Wyoming where total construction employment fell by 2.0%. During this time, New Jersey declined by 1.9% and Kentucky declined by 1.5%.

Year-over-year, The U.S added 286,000 construction sector jobs which is a 4.1% increase. West Virginia had the highest annual growth in construction sector by 11.1%. Arizona (8.8%) and Georgia (8.4%) round out the top three. Over this period, North Dakota reported the largest decline at 6.4%, followed by New Jersey (3.0%) and South Carolina (1.4%).

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