Southern Region Creates Most Jobs in 2018

On an annual basis, total nonfarm employment in December 2018 increased by 2.6 million jobs, compared with a gain of 2.2 million in 2017. The South region created the greatest number of jobs by adding 1.2 million total nonfarm employment to the area, while the Northeast created the least number of nonfarm jobs.

Total nonfarm employment in the South increased by 2.25% and in the West region by 2.21%. The Midwest and the Northeast recorded the lowest gains at 1.44% and 1.38% respectively during this time.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on January 25, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 44 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in six states in December 2018, compared to the previous month. Nationwide, total nonfarm payroll employment surged by 312,000 over the month of December, much higher than the upwardly revised 176,000 jobs in November.

In the construction sector specifically, which includes both residential and non-residential construction, across the 44 states which reported construction sector jobs data, 30 states had an increase in December 2018, 11 states reported a decline, and three states remained unchanged compared to November. In the month of December, employment in construction rose by 38,000. Within the industry, heavy and civil engineering construction (+16,000) and nonresidential specialty trade contractors (+16,000) created the greatest number of jobs.

Over the year in 2018, construction added 280,000 jobs, compared with an increase of 250,000 in 2017. Yet employment in the industry is still below the 374,000 peak in April 2006. Connecticut had the highest annual growth in construction sector by 16.9%. Wyoming (14.9%) and Arizona (12.5%) round out the top three. Over this period, South Carolina reported the largest decline at 5.0%, followed by Alaska (–2.5%) and Maine (–2.1%).