Which States Have the Highest Demand for HVAC Workers?

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Local, national, and global forces are contributing to an increased demand in the U.S. for HVAC professionals. By illustration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2018) projected a 15 percent increase in openings for HVAC mechanics and installers between 2016 and 2026, more than double the average rate of growth for all occupations nationwide.

There are varied reasons posited for the thriving HVAC industry. New building construction, the retrofitting or replacement of old systems, and evolving environmental laws are only three of the forces fueling this demand for qualified technicians. The Freedonia Group (2017) predicted 3.3 percent annual growth through 2021 in the commercial HVAC/R sector. The report attributed the growth to the rising demand for more efficient HVAC systems and those which have a higher degree of technological sophistication. Furthermore, Freedonia expected residential market growth to exceed that of the commercial market through 2021, especially for warm air furnaces.

Business Wire (2016) cited a Technavio analysis predicting HVAC/R market growth of nearly 7 percent between 2016 and 2020, positing that the climate control requirements of data centers and colocation facilities played a role in the growing HVAC sector.

Where Do We Find the Highest Demand for HVAC Technicians?

So where is the demand expected to be the highest? According to Projections Central (2018), the following ten states will have the highest expected percentage increase in positions for HVAC mechanics and installers between 2014 and 2024:

  • Arizona: 51.4 percent increase in HVAC positions (2014-24)
  • Colorado: 43.5 percent
  • Utah: 33.8 percent
  • Florida: 33.4 percent
  • California: 31.8 percent
  • Texas: 29.4 percent
  • New York: 26.5 percent
  • Kentucky: 24.6 percent
  • Washington: 22.1 percent
  • Georgia: 20.1 percent

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:

  • Florida 9,250 new HVAC positions anticipated (2014-24)
  • California: 7,100 jobs
  • Texas: 6,740 jobs
  • New York: 3,840 jobs
  • Arizona: 3,260 jobs
  • Colorado: 2,150 jobs
  • Kentucky: 1,800 jobs
  • Georgia: 1,780 jobs
  • Washington: 1,090 jobs
  • Utah: 970 jobs

Why Does the Demand Vary So Much From State to State?

Reasons vary why these particular states are experiencing the most growth in HVAC. For example, most of Arizona is hot and dry so residents want cooling systems. Agriculture is also a significant part of Arizona’s economy, so cold storage facilities and refrigerated transportation are essential. 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.

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 heavy 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 (2017) placed Washington as having the strongest economy of all the states. California was second, followed by Utah.

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.

Barry Franklin

Barry is the Editor in Chief of HVACClasses.org, operated by educational web publisher Sechel Ventures, which he joined as partner in 2013 after almost 20 years in the financial software industry.

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