MN Added Most Construction Jobs in U.S. in Sept.

Minnesota added 3,100 jobs during the month, outpacing all other states, but it has far fewer construction jobs than last year: 85,100, down from 91,100 in September 2009.

Minnesota added more construction jobs in September than any other state, according to data released Friday by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

The AGC, which based its report on figures from the U.S. Labor Department, said that Minnesota added 3,100 construction jobs in September, outpacing all other states.

Still, Minnesota has far fewer jobs than last year. September employment in the industry totaled 85,100 versus 91,100 last year. In fact, Minnesota is among 40 states that have shed construction jobs during the past year.

Hawaii gained the most construction jobs based on percent change from the previous month. The state added 1,400 jobs in September-up 4.9 percent from August.

California's construction industry fared the worst in September, losing 13,300 jobs during the month. The state has shed 50,700 jobs during the past year.

“Construction firms are caught between a difficult present and an uncertain future,” Ken Simonson, the AGC's chief economist, said in a statement. “Looking ahead, nobody knows what will happen to the only thing keeping the current market from getting worse, federal spending, as long-term water, energy, and transportation spending programs remain in limbo.”

The AGC said that construction employment will likely “continue to stagnate” as firms deal with low demand and “an uncertain federal marketplace.” The association also said that tax rates for most small construction firms have not yet been set for the coming year-contributing to the uncertainty felt throughout the industry.

“Adding uncertainty and confusion into an already bleak market is a good way to keep construction workers out of a job,” AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr said in a statement.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development reported earlier this week that unemployment in Minnesota held steady at 7 percent during September, while the national average remained at 9.6 percent.

In addition to the 3,100 new construction jobs in September, Minnesota also added jobs in the following industries: transportation and utilities (up 1,400), manufacturing (up 1,300), information (up 900), and financial activities (up 200).

Washington, D.C.-based AGC is a national association for the construction industry that represents more than 33,000 firms, including general contractors, specialty contractors, and service providers and suppliers.