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U.S. Southwest: Construction Jobs Increase Slightly In February 2014

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The construction job count edged upward in Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada during the month of February.

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In Arizona, there were about 126,000 construction jobs in February up from 125,500 in January, reflecting a 3.6% year-over-year increase on the month. The state’s overall unemployment rate was 7.3% in February, down from 7.5% in January. Arizona’s civilian labor force numbered about 3,006,200, up from 3,004,300 in January.

“In Arizona, job growth in particular with regard to construction, statewide we are seeing a bit of a bounceback in the construction industry,” said Robert Carreira of southeast Arizona’s Center for Economic Research at Cochise College. “And most of that of course is driven by Maricopa County and the Phoenix metro area.”

In New Mexico, there were about 43,100 construction jobs in February up from 42,200 in January, reflecting a 2.1% year-over-year increase on the month. New Mexico’s overall unemployment rate was 6.7%, up from 6.6% in January. Its civilian labor force numbered about 932,900, up from 927,700 in January.

According to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, the construction industry added 200 jobs in February, representing slower growth from previously higher on-the-year growth, which, at times, exceeded more than 1,000 in the spring and summer months of last year.

In the Albuquerque metropolitan statistical area, the construction segment reported a loss of 300 jobs (-1.6%) on the year; in the Las Cruces MSA construction was up 100 jobs on the year (3%). Construction in the Santa Fe MSA gained 200 jobs (7.4%) on the year, according to the NMDWS.

In Nevada, there were about 61,600 construction jobs in February, up from 60,400 in January, reflecting a 10.4% year-over-year increase on the month. The state’s overall unemployment rate was 8.5%, slightly off January’s 8.7%. Nevada’s civilian labor force numbered about 1,373,200 in February, up from 1,367,500, according to the BLS.

In Nevada’s Las Vegas-Paradise metro region, there were about 40,400 construction jobs in February, up from 39.7% in the first month of the year, reflecting a 3.1% year-over-year increase on the month.

Over the last 12 months, construction added an average of 500 jobs per month in Nevada, and financial activities rose by 400, split equally between finance/insurance and real estate/rental/leasing, according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation.

Carson City had the highest unemployment rate among the state’s three metro areas in February at 9.9 percent, and Las Vegas had the lowest jobless rate at 8.6 percent; the unemployment rate recorded in the Reno/Sparks area was 8.8 percent, DETR said.

“It is encouraging to see the continued improvement in our economy,” Gov. Brian Sandoval told the DETR. “Nevada has now experienced 38 consecutive months of job growth, and the unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since October 2008. While the news continues to be positive, too many in our state remain out of work. We must continue our focus on job creation until every Nevadan who wants a job has one.”

Nationwide, the unemployment rate in the construction sector was 11.3% in March, down from 12.8% in February and 12.3% in January. In the United States the estimated seasonally adjusted number of construction employees was 5,964,000 in March, 5,945,000 in February, and 5,927,000 in January, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.



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