/ Modified feb 12, 2015 9:27 a.m.

Arizona Worst in Nation in Construction Job Loss

Decline of 4,400 last year makes it West's only state to lose jobs; business worries about education cited.

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Arizona lost 4,400 construction jobs last year, more than any other state, an industry report revealed Wednesday.

The report of the Associated General Contractors showed Arizona as the only state in the West to lose jobs in construction. By contrast, Colorado and Utah gained nearly 10,000 each, while Texas grew by almost 50,000, the report showed.

Mark Minter, executive director of the Arizona Builders Alliance, said changes in public policy regarding alternative energy and public education could help increase construction work by bringing more businesses to the state.

“One of the things that businesses look at when relocating here is what’s the caliber of the public education in the K-12 and the university level," Minter said. "Arizona has got a problem in funding that and in performance levels. You know we’re in the bottom five to 10 states in those areas of funding and performance.”

Minter said if discussions on public policy begin now and take root in improvements, perhaps Arizona can gain construction jobs by next year.

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