Which States Have the Highest Demand for HVAC Workers in 2022-2023?

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Local, national, and global forces are contributing to increased demand in the U.S. for HVAC professionals. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2022) projected a 5 percent increase in openings for HVAC mechanics and installers between 2021 and 2031—which is on par with the average growth rate for all occupations nationwide.

There are varied reasons posited for the thriving HVAC industry. New building construction, the retrofitting or replacing old systems, and evolving environmental laws are only three of the forces fueling this demand for qualified technicians. Markets and Markets reported that the “HVAC system market size is estimated to be $197 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach $271.5 billion by 2026; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.6% from 2021 to 2026”.

Continuing research has confirmed the anticipated growth in the HVAC market. For example, a 2019 report from Research Cosmos shows strong growth expected “over the forecast period 2019-2024.” They attribute the strength of the HVAC market to “widespread adoption across the North American region, due to the multiple advantages HVAC systems offer, most notably power-saving techniques.” As with past research, more recent research also sees growth in the “replacement market” as newer energy-efficient systems replace aging systems.

The industry report from Grandview Research (2021) is also optimistic, forecasting strong growth through 2030. They cite factors such as “extreme climate conditions, availability of high-efficiency equipment, and growing construction activities.” They additionally expect energy credits from the federal and state governments to contribute to the growth of the HVAC industry.

HVAC and HVAC/R installation require skilled technicians. The equipment has become increasingly sophisticated, and the system is an integral part of the IoT in many structures. More and more of the components are automated, but the installation still requires a skilled professional. Every system is unique.

Using new construction rates and other factors, this guide explores the top states for HVAC installers in the U.S. in 2022 and 2023.

States With the Highest Construction Rates

According to Research and Markets (September 2020), nearly 61 percent of the construction market is located in ten states. The following five states report the most construction work:

  • California: Not only has California suffered devastating wildfires, flooding, and mudslides that have made rebuilding a priority, but also the state has “a large number of megaprojects in transportation infrastructure and energy and utility projects.”
  • Texas: Texas continues to rebuild from hurricanes. It is also “the leader in energy and utility projects” as well as development and infrastructure projects.
  • New York: Several major infrastructure projects are underway in New York, along with an anticipated increase in residential projects. “The MTA, the Port Authority, and city government have all increased the funding they’re dedicating to infrastructure projects.” According to the New York Building Congress’ Construction Outlook 2021-2023 report, New York Building Congress Forecasts $174.1 Billion in Construction Spending Over the Next Three Years.
  • Florida: Florida is another state hard-hit by hurricanes, necessitating extensive rebuilding projects. The state also has mixed-use developments underway, as well as increased funding for education and healthcare facilities.
  • Illinois: Ranking fifth on the list is Illinois according to Research and Markets. That rise in development is because companies are relocating to the Chicago area and bringing demand for a new office and residential spaces with them.

The remaining five of the top ten states for construction are Washington, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

States that Employ the Most HVAC Workers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2021) found that the following states currently have the highest number of HVAC and HVAC/R workers employed:

State HVAC workers employed
1. California 32,640
2. Texas 31,060
3. Florida 30,480
4. New York 22,240
5. Pennsylvania 18,110
6. North Carolina 15,150
7. Virginia 11,960
8. Ohio 11,580
9. Georgia 10,450
10. Michigan 9,480

So, where is the demand expected to be the highest? According to CareerOneStop (2022), the following 20 states will have the highest expected percentage increase in positions for HVAC mechanics and installers between 2020 and 2030:

States Percentage increase in positions for HVAC mechanics and installers between 2020 and 2030
1. Utah 46%
2. Arizona 31%
3. Idaho 31%
4. Colorado 30%
5. Montana 25%
6. Texas 21%
7. Nevada 21%
8. New York 20%
9. Iowa 20%
10. Washington 19%
11. Massachusetts 19%
12. North Dakota 18%
13. Florida 15%
14. Wyoming 15%
15. California 14%
16. North Carolina 13%
17. New Mexico 13%
18. Rhode Island 13%
19. Tennessee 12%
20. Connecticut 12%

The order of the top-employing states changes when expressed as the absolute number of jobs added rather than as a percentage. The states with the highest expected number of new openings for HVAC mechanics and installers include:

States New HVAC positions anticipated (2020-2030)
1. Florida 4,250
2. California 3,980
3. Texas 3,720
4. New York 2,380
5. North Carolina 1,760
6. Pennsylvania 1,640
7. Arizona 1,450
8. Ohio 1,410
9. Virginia 1,290
10. New Jersey 1,220
11. Washington 1,200
12. Georgia 1,090
13. Tennessee 1,030
14. Washington 1,030
15. North Carolina 970
16. Tennessee 970
17. Colorado 970
18. Michigan 810
19. Illinois 810
20. Maryland 780

These are the latest complete state figures available as of September 2022.

Reasons vary why these particular states are experiencing the most growth in HVAC.

For example, most of Arizona is hot and dry, so residents need cooling systems. Agriculture is also a significant part of Arizona’s economy, so cold storage facilities and refrigerated transportation are essential. Manufacturing in the state has increased, particularly for electronics and communication components. Manufacturing facilities often require specialized climate-control systems. More people, especially Americans over the age of 65, consistently move into Arizona than move out, which has led to increased construction of residences and facilities.

Similar to Arizona, agriculture and its refrigeration requirements in Florida contribute to the need for HVAC technicians. Florida also draws residents from colder northern states, which means the construction of new residences and facilities to accommodate them. However, tourism is the mainstay of Florida’s economy. The hospitality venues drive the need for climate-control systems.

The state of Washington is another example. Western Washington tends to be gray, chilly, and often rainy. Eastern Washington is hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and dry most of the year. The economy is diverse, with a substantial interest in tech and engineering plus agriculture. At a commercial level, companies like Microsoft, Boeing, or Amazon require specialized systems to keep equipment at the proper temperature.

Another factor is relative economic strength. States with industries doing well generally have higher rates of construction and a higher demand for HVAC professionals. For example, WalletHub (2022) placed Washington as having the strongest economy of all the states. Utah was second, followed by California, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

In their latest rankings of the best states, the U.S.News & World Report (2021) also named Utah as having the strongest economy, based on employment, business environment, and population growth. Colorado, Idaho, Washington, and Massachusetts completed their list of the top five. Technicians interested in considering other states will find an alphabetical listing of the economic strengths and weaknesses in Kiplinger’s economic outlook for all 50 states.

Overall, each state has a unique combination of economic prosperity, job opportunities, and weather patterns that may make them ideal locations for HVAC/R professionals.

Sandra Smith

Sandra Smith was introduced to the HVAC industry when she worked as a bookkeeper and secretary for a small air-conditioning contractor. She eventually became a CPA and started her own practice specializing in small business taxes and accounting. After retiring from business, she began writing articles for newspapers, magazines, and websites. She also authored four books. Sandra makes her home in the mountains with a rescue dog that naps on her lap as she writes.

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