“Construction employment continues to decline in many states as key tax and infrastructure decisions languish in Washington,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Thousands more construction workers could be employed today in states across the country if we had long-term federal tax and infrastructure programs in place.”
The economist said that among states losing construction jobs during the past year, Alaska lost the highest percentage, followed by Nevada and Mississippi. Illinois lost the most jobs, followed by Georgia and Florida.
Simonson noted that 20 states and Washington, D.C., added construction jobs between August 2011 and August 2012. The District of Columbia added the highest percentage of new construction jobs followed by North Dakota and Nebraska. Texas added the most new construction jobs over the past 12 months, followed by California and Indiana.
Association officials said that construction employment was suffering from Washington's failure to act on a number of long-term infrastructure and tax measures. They noted that Congress has yet to enact long-term water infrastructure measures, address transportation funding challenges or set tax levels for future years.
“Not only are Washington officials failing to make tough choices on infrastructure funding, they aren’t even taking care of essential measures like setting tax rates and keeping our clean water systems up to date,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer. “Construction employment suffers when firms can’t anticipate future demand or know how much they will have to pay in taxes.”