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Construction jobs up 4.7% in Kan.

Construction jobs in Kansas increased 4.7 percent from a year ago, putting Kansas in a tie with Indiana for 11th place in terms of construction job growth.

The Associated General Contractors of America said Friday that Kansas had 2,500 more jobs in February compared with the same month a year ago.

That put Kansas’ total construction employment — which includes jobs in residential, commercial and public construction sectors — at 55,600 jobs. In comparison, Indiana had an identical year-over-year percentage gain in construction jobs, accounting for 5,600 additional positions for a total of 123,500 jobs.

AGC chief economist Ken Simonson said most of the job gains in Kansas for February were in the apartment, energy, manufacturing and hospital sectors.

“Wichita, as you know, still has a number of challenges (including) getting people to buy those nice aircraft you build there,” Simonson said.

He said in Kansas and across the country, residential construction activity remains depressed and office and retail construction is slow, too.

“It’s really a mixed picture,” Simonson said.

But he said Kansas seems to have some positive momentum going for it in terms of construction jobs. Simonson said Kansas construction jobs are higher for two years in a row, and up 6.5 percent from the state’s June 2011 low of 52,200 jobs.

“Certainly it’s progress,” Simonson said. “You’ve come back from a much worse situation.”

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