San Diego Business Journal

California led the way for U.S. states in adding construction jobs in the 12 months that ended in September, according to analysis of Labor Department data released by the Associated General Contractors of America.

During that time California added 30,900 construction jobs, a year-over-year increase of 4.2 percent, the association said.

Those new jobs brought the total in California from 739,000 in September 2015 to 769,900 in September 2016.

Of those, 5,000 new jobs were added between August and September, a 0.7-percent increase, according to the association.

That increase, the second highest among the states, was an improvement over the small increase recorded between July and August, when 1,600 construction jobs were added in California, according to the association’s analysis of the seasonally-adjusted Labor Department data.

Other states that added high numbers of new construction jobs in the last 12 months include Florida, which added 22,800 jobs, Colorado, which added 19,400 jobs, Washington state, which added 15,300 jobs, and Iowa, which added 13,700 jobs.

The highest percentage added was in Iowa, where new construction jobs grew by 11.1 percent.

Those states were among the 35 that added construction jobs between September 2015 and September 2016. However, between August and September of this year, construction employment increased in fewer areas - 21 states and the District of Columbia, the association said.

Association officials said contractors still report difficulty filling construction jobs.

"The list of states that are adding construction jobs has been shrinking, yet contractors generally report they are busy now and optimistic about the workload ahead," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the association. "Therefore, the lack of employment increases in many states may reflect the difficulty contractors say they are having in finding qualified workers."

Kansas lost more construction jobs than any other state in the year starting September 2015, shedding 4,700 or 7.7 percent. Other states that reduced the rolls during that time included Alabama, which lost 3,500, Pennsylvania, which lost 2,600 jobs, North Dakota and Wyoming, which both lost 2,100 jobs.

Percentagewise, Wyoming lost more than any other state in those 12 months: the number of construction jobs in the state dropped 9.2 percent.