Monday, December 4, 2017

Sarasota Herald-Tribune Reports Builders Hire 8% More In The Area


Southwest Florida’s labor-parched construction industry added 2,100 jobs in October, an 8% growth rate that was one of the best in the state. The Sarasota-Manatee and Charlotte County metro areas were among 243 out of 358 nationwide where construction employment rose over the year, the Associated General Contractors of America reported Wednesday. Construction employment increased by 1,700 jobs, or 8 percent, last month in Sarasota-Manatee, while Charlotte County added 400 jobs for a jump of 10 percent.
Charlotte ranked 27th nationwide for percentage growth while Sarasota-Manatee came in at 54th. A total of 28,800 workers were counted in the construction trades in the three counties, the contractors’ group said. The combined 8% increase tied for sixth highest among the state’s 23 metro regions.
Florida ranked seventh in the U.S. with 7.4 percent growth in construction employment, adding 35,800 jobs.
Nationwide, construction employment grew by 2.8 percent, or 187,000 jobs, over the year, the trade organization said. “Growing demand, especially from the private sector, is continuing to drive construction employment gains in many parts of the country,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The tax reform proposals now being debated in Washington can do even more to help ensure that metro areas will continue to add new construction jobs.”
The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater region posted the state’s highest number of job gains with 5,400 over the year. Cape Coral-Fort Myers recorded the state’s only decline, down 1,900 jobs, or 7 percent, AGC said.
The construction workforce in Sarasota-Manatee peaked at 31,800 in April 2006 but plunged to 14,900 in 2011 during the economic downturn, when projects stalled and building all but ceased, forcing workers to find other ways to earn a living.
Even with a steadily rising labor force, residential and commercial builders here say they still struggle to find enough workers for their projects. The labor shortage has affected construction in the area for some time, slowing some large-scale developments by months. Many of the subcontractors who perform most of the labor at constructions sites — from carpenters to plumbers to drywall installers — say they cannot find the manpower to handle the surge of homes, condominiums, apartments, hotels and retail projects under way or planned.

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