Construction employment in the United States is starting to look a little more stable, at least according to the Associated General Contractors

Construction employment in the United States is starting to look a little more stable, at least according to the Associated General Contractors.

The AGC found in June that half the states either added construction jobs or kept the same number as in May. Compared with June 2009, construction employment rose in six states, the largest number of states to post year-over-year increases since October 2008.

“It is encouraging to see some states adding construction jobs and the declines in others getting less severe,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the construction trade association. “But there’s little room to celebrate with overall construction employment at a 14-year low and demand for most constructions services still weak.”

Simonson noted that the largest year-over-year increase was in Kansas, where construction employment rose 7.7 percent, followed by Alaska, West Virginia and New Hampshire. The largest percentage job decrease compared with June 2009 was in Nevada with 24.4 percent followed by Vermont, Wyoming and Washington. California lost the largest number of jobs, 74,400 or 12 percent.

Kentucky experienced the highest one-month percent increase in construction employment, while Wyoming lost the highest percentage of construction jobs during the past month.

Simonson said that the abundance of workers and firms eager to work combined with relatively low materials costs makes construction services more affordable than they have been in years. He also added that the producer price index for construction dropped 0.9 percent in June.

“In a few months, however, many companies are likely to have closed their doors, and materials costs will be rising again,” he said.

Association officials noted that projects funded by federal stimulus money have added to the construction job tally in many states. They warned, however, that money will soon run out and Congress has yet to pass most of its regular long-term infrastructure bills.

“Any improvements in the construction employment picture will be difficult to sustain unless Congress quickly passes long-term funding for transportation, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.