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Construction Industry on the Rise

In a recent article posted by the Phoenix Business Journal, there has been a very noticeable increase in the amount of workers that contractors are hiring for the year 2014. However, many contractors are finding it difficult to hire qualified workers. Below is the full article from the Phoenix Business Journal, written by Kent Hoover.

This year is shaping up to be a good year for the construction industry — if contractors can find enough qualified workers.
A survey of more than 800 construction firms by the Associated General Contractors of America found that 41 percent plan to add workers this year, compared with only 2 percent that plan layoffs. The rest either plan no change in staffing or don’t know yet.
Last year, 51 percent of construction firms added workers, while 23 percent laid of workers, and 26 percent stayed the same size.
“Contractors are more optimistic about 2014 than they have been in a long time,” said Stephen Sandherr, the trade association’s CEO.
Construction firms expect demand to increase in 10 of 11 market segments, particularly for private-sector projects such as offices, manufacturing plants and retail/warehouse/lodging. Marine construction is the only market where demand is expected to fall.
Finding qualified workers to meet this demand will be one of the industry’s biggest challenges. More than 60 percent of construction firms report they’re already having a hard time filling key professional and craft worker positions, and many expect this problem will get worse this year.
There aren’t enough good training programs for construction jobs — nearly half of firms say their local pipeline for preparing craft workers is poor or below average. Nearly 80 percent said preparing the next generation of skilled workers should be a top priority for policy makers in Washington, D.C.
In some ways, Washington is hurting, not helping, the construction industry, according to the firms. Nearly 80 percent report that health insurance costs increased in 2013, and 82 percent expect them to increase this year. More than 60 percent said repealing part or all of the Affordable Care aAct should be a top priority for Congress.
Construction firms also are worried about new regulations requiring them to keep detailed records about all job applicants and account for silica exposure. They also fear an expansion of the Environmental Protection Agency’s jurisdiction over wetlands.
“It would appear that Washington is not here to help as far as contractors are concerned,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist.

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