A large number of stadium and hospital projects are popping up across Texas and Louisiana. Work on hospitals and health care facilities is expected to increase in both Dallas and Houston. Some experts credit the surge to the new health care law. Five projects on ENR Texas & Louisiana's top starts list from last year were health care related. McGraw Hill Construction Dodge says $3 billion in health care-related projects started in 2012, with $3.11 billion under way in 2013.

On the education side, college stadiums are being built or renovated around the region. Louisiana State University, the University of Houston, Baylor University and Texas A&M all have stadiums under way, with alumni pushing more schools to follow suit.

Thanks to additional bond dollars, plenty of new schools are also being constructed. This trend will likely continue as well. About $4.2 billion in education projects started in 2012 and $5.5 billion in 2013.

Work Force

Labor shortages helped by in-migration?

In December, TEXO's vice president of government affairs, Jack Baxley, told ENR he expects to see continued volatility in the labor pool. "There are certain crafts that are beginning to experience shortages of skilled craftsmen, and we're also seeing that. I'm starting to pick up from my members that they're also seeing shortages in the professional positions," he says.

At the same time, more projects in the area mean that jobs are being created, drawing more people to Texas. The same can be said for Louisiana, which is experiencing its own project surge.

Work force issues will still be a hot-button issue for the industry in 2014, but regional insiders say the shortages may lessen throughout the year.