The Associated General Contractors of America reported last week that Arizona lost 5,900 construction jobs between July 2013 and July 2014. This is surprising because, on a national level, the construction industry is growing. Thirty-nine states, including many neighboring states, added jobs over that same period. It is also surprising because Arizona suffered the second highest number of construction jobs lost. Only New Jersey, which shed 8,900 jobs, lost more.
Arizona’s losses have decreased the state’s construction employment from 123,700 to 117,800 workers , or by 4.8%. This percentage decrease is also near the worst among the states. Only New Jersey, Mississippi, and West Virginia lost greater percentages of their construction workforces in the past 12 months.
The construction industry is faring much better in most of Arizona’s neighboring states. In the past year, California has added 22,600 new construction jobs, and Utah and Nevada have added 8,000 and 7,500, respectively.
Whatever the reason for Arizona’s loss of construction jobs, this is not good news. Construction has long been a primary driver of Arizona’s economy.