Even though it may seem like you can’t escape construction, the industry is currently experiencing a worker shortage and productivity issues. Yes, although every road you drive on is being repaired, every neighborhood you visit is building new houses, and every strip mall you pass is expanding, the industry is hurting.
As you can see from the graph above, there are not enough people to fill the jobs and contractors are having a tough time finding skilled workers to complete projects on time. Not every state can enjoy massive projects like President Trump’s wall.
While the industry as a whole may be hurting, there are some states that are performing better than others. Let’s take a look at the best and worst states in the country for the construction industry.
The Best States
The state we all pronounced wrong in elementary school tops the list, as it’s ranked as one of the best states for the construction industry.
It makes the top of the list because of the available construction jobs and high wages, paying 31% higher than the national average.
It also ranks incredibly well with the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ location quotient, which compares an area’s distribution of employment by industry, ownership, and size class with an area’s distribution. The closer it is to 1, which means it has a better share of local area employment than the rest of the nation.
One thing that greatly helps Illinois is the Windy City, where there are plenty of huge construction projects going on.
Heading out west, California seems to always rank at the top of just about any list. Thanks to a plethora of big cities with growing populations like Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, California is a hub for construction workers.
Currently, California ranks at the top for available construction jobs due to the large-scale projects happening during the state at any moment. The state also employs more construction workers than anywhere in the entire country by a wide margin.
The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of the construction industry in Texas. That’s how the song goes, right?
Similar to California, Texas benefits from a number of large metropolitan areas, low unemployment rates, worker-friendly environments, and of course, no state income tax.
Texas is also one of the best states to start a construction business thanks to friendly laws and flexibility, many people flock to San Antonio, Houston, or Dallas for their next business ventures. It’s easy to see why so many people draw up their business plans and start loading up their trucks to get started.
The Worst States
The Land of 10,000 Lakes may be great for fishing and enjoying the snow, but it is a place that has been struggling in the construction industry for quite some time.
The construction trend seems to be tied together with the state’s steady population decline. Many counties have experienced population loss that has been buoyed by immigrants arriving, but that’s a trend that is unlikely to continue for the next few years.
The main issue with the construction industry is that there simply aren’t enough young people stepping in to fill certain jobs. More and more older people retire from trades and not enough people are stepping in to fill their shoes.
Alabama is one of the states that has been hit hardest by this trend as the industry becomes older and smaller over time. Some estimates say that for every four people that leave the industry, only one is available to take their place.
Alabama’s western neighbor, Mississippi, is also in a similar boat. Not only is the industry becoming older and smaller, but the construction sector is losing thousands of jobs per year.
Mississippi is plagued by an incredibly slow-growing population, 40th in the nation and last in the south, which is one of the reasons why its construction industry is hurting. Not only that, but Mississippi doesn’t have the luxury of a major metropolitan area to bolster the state with projects.
Even though no one would call Birmingham a major city, it at least has some economic power to help the construction industry.