The best states for a construction job

The top anticipated engineering and skilled labor shortages according to a survey of 2,223 construction industry professionals.

July 19, 2012 |
Finding a construction job may be getting easier-at least in some states.

In the construction industry, jobs are hard to come by. But a June report released by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) indicates that--at least in some states--it’s getting easier. In the report, the AGC finds that 20 states added new construction jobs.

According to AGC data, states with highest percentage of job gains are Montana and Wyoming which posted 12-month growth rates of 15.2% and 13.7%, respectively. At the opposite end of the spectrum are Alaska and Wisconsin with respective losses of 20% and 10.6%.

To find out what’s driving these job losses and gains, I recently caught up with AGC’s Chief Economist, Ken Simonson. In my conversation with Simonson, he highlighted three main drivers behind the current trends in construction employment:

  1. Low vacancy rates are spurring investment in apartment complex construction.
  2. The acceleration of natural gas extraction is fueling related construction job growth.
  3. Manufacturing investment is leading to new manufacturing facility construction.

So what kinds of jobs fit well with these market drivers? Below I’ll profile a few relevant professions currently in demand.

Apartment Complex Construction: Apartment construction requires nearly every kind of construction trade on the job. However, there are a few particular positions that are particularly high demand.

Carpenter: Naturally, carpenters are in high demand as more complexes are built and they’re needed for everything from framing to setting crown molding.

Millwork: The millwork trade is in high demand to produce the doors, crown moldings, window casings, etc. needed to finish an apartment.

Electrician: Electricians that are familiar with multi-family electrical wiring and know how to run standard power distribution to lighting and other outlets in apartments are needed to provide power to an apartment.

Natural Gas Extraction: The growth in natural gas extraction from underground shales is also supporting new construction jobs. The majority of these jobs involve heavy construction or civil engineering.

Earthwork and Excavation: The earthwork industry is needed on natural gas extraction for everything from mining the minerals that are used in extraction to clearing roadway to the drill site.

Civil Engineering: Of course, effectively planning these roadways requires civil engineers that can plan the infrastructure of these projects.

Manufacturing Facilities: Construction jobs are also being supported by the uptick in domestic manufacturing, which is prompting manufacturers to build new facilities in the U.S. As a result, there are two main professions that are in high demand.

Iron Workers: Iron work professionals are needed to put together the large steel frames that facilities require. Within the iron work profession, welders are among the most in demand professions as certified welders are hard to find given that it can take several years to achieve certification.

Electrician: Commercial electricians are needed when constructing a new manufacturing facility because of the need to install power and controls to motors and HVAC systems at the facility--in addition to the need to run power distribution directly from an electrical grid.

If you’re interested in learning more about how these jobs (and skills) fit into the trends I highlighted above, please stop by Software Advice to check out my original article and leave your thoughts here. +

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