California — and the Inland Empire in particular — continued to be home to the nation’s hottest building booms.
That’s among the noteworthy conclusions I found in a monthly analysis of government jobs data by the trade group Associated General Contractors of America. The construction push comes amid reports of tradesmen shortages, which might be keeping job growth muted and is definitely pushing up wages.
Here are seven construction job trends worth knowing from data for the 12 months ending in October …
1. Metro areas: Riverside and San Bernardino counties added 14,700 jobs in a year, a 15 percent gain. It’s the ninth consecutive month the Inland Empire has topped the nation. The next largest year-long hiring spree was in Las Vegas (up 10,500 jobs or 18 percent), followed by New York City (up 10,100 jobs or 7 percent); Portland (up 8,000 jobs or 12 percent) and Los Angeles County (up 7,500 jobs or 6 percent). Orange County added 4,700 workers or 5 percent, the eighth-best gain. Biggest loser? Storm-wracked Houston, off 7,900 jobs or 4 percent.
2. Southern California: The four-county area added 26,900 workers or 8 percent in a year. If Southern California was a state by itself, its 359,600 construction workers are topped only by staffing in Texas, Florida and New York. And the region’s hiring spree since October 2016 was bested only by Florida.
3. State rankings: California added a national-best 44,400 jobs in 12 months or 5.7 percent. The state has been the U.S. hiring leader since March. Following California in October was Florida (up 35,600 jobs in a year, or 7.4 percent); Texas (up 17,200 jobs or 2.4 percent to a record high); Oregon (up 10,700 jobs or 11.5 percent); Nevada (up 10,600 jobs or 13.6 percent) and Washington (up 10,500 jobs or 5.5 percent). Biggest loser? Missouri, off 5,800 jobs or 4.8 percent.
4. Intrastate note: Outside of Southern California, construction bosses in the state added 18,200 in 12 months. That’s a 4 percent growth rate, half of Southern California’s advance. And it’s worth noting that Silicon Valley shed 2,100 construction jobs in a year (a 4 percent dip) that was the nation’s fifth-largest loss. Does that building dip in the San Jose area say anything about the health of that metro’s all-important tech industry or its real estate climate?
5. Pay raises: Average weekly construction wages (from another government report) for 2017’s first quarter show California at $1,252, up 8.5 percent in a…