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Idaho has the highest construction-jobs increase in the U.S.

Idaho added 4,400 new construction jobs in the past year, making its 12.4 increase in construction employment the highest in the nation.

The Associated General Contractors of America reported the gains, based on an analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data, on Wednesday.

Idaho was followed by Washington, Michigan and New Jersey for largest employment increase in the construction sector. California added the largest sheer number of jobs in the past year, at 42,600 — a 6.4 percent increase.

Seven states shed construction jobs during the past 12 months, while construction employment stayed the same in three states.

“Construction employment grew faster than overall employment in most states in the latest 12 months, but the industry faces two challenges: a lack of experienced workers in many locations and a risk that funding for highway and transit projects will lapse in the next few months,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, in a news release.

Simonson many veteran construction workers have left the industry for other sectors or have retired, due to the long and severe drop in construction employment. As a result, he said, contractors in some states are struggling to find workers with the right skills.

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