Disaster recovery, infrastructure projects fuel construction job growth

(iStock) The ongoing recovery from recent storms continues to support job growth in the construction…

(iStock)

The ongoing recovery from recent storms continues to support job growth in the construction industry, says Ken Naquin, CEO of Louisiana Associated General Contractors. 

As that work winds down, infrastructure work funded by state and federal dollars should be ramping up, he says. But getting workers and supplies remains a challenge. 

Construction employment nationwide climbed by about 60,000 jobs between January and February, while hourly pay rose at the steepest pace in almost 40 years, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.

“All segments of construction added workers in February,” says Ken Simonson, the national association’s chief economist. “However, filling positions remains a struggle, as pay is rising even faster in other sectors.”

Naquin says local construction wages are strong, paying no less than $15 an hour. But convincing people to work in the industry is tough. 

And getting basic supplies remains a challenge. Doors and windows often take six to eight months to arrive, he says. 

As a result, contractors have to make decisions about where to deploy their resources. Naquin says he has heard from one school board with a $20 million project that was unable to attract any bidders.