In keeping with a strong national economy, the Southwest region is experiencing a solid uptick in construction industry jobs and some of the highest percentage increases in the nation.
“The construction industry continues to add employees in most of the nation, despite a shortage of workers with construction experience,” says Associated General Contractors chief economist Ken Simonson. “But job openings are growing, as contractors encounter a shrinking pool of experienced jobseekers.”
California added 74,000 construction jobs during the past year, the most in the nation. However, West Virginia added 4,300 jobs, which, at 14.3%, is the highest percentage of new construction jobs during the past year. Nevada added 8,900 jobs, a 10.9% increase, the second most in the nation. Arizona is fourth in the nation in percentage increase at 13,000 jobs at 9.2%.
According to the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity, there were 150,000 working construction for February 2018 in the state. Further, the state added about 13,000 construction jobs between February 2017 and February 2018, says Doug Walls, research administration with the state’s OEO.
“It’s one of the fastest growing industries we’ve seen,” he added. There are several reasons for this building boom, including the state’s fast-growing population, Walls said.
“We also saw a large increase in homeownership rates in Arizona,” he added, the first time since 2006.
It’s not just massive projects being Phoenix metro area that is contributing to these strong numbers: Mining and construction in the Lake Havasu/Kingman region are up 16 percent; Sierra Vista is seeing growth of 15.4 percent; and Prescott is up 10.2 percent.
Nevada saw the addition of 8,900 new construction jobs between February 2017 and February 2018, for a 10.9 percent increase, according to its state Research and Analysis Bureau.
The Silver State’s biggest city, Las Vegas, is experiencing a hotel/casino boom with projects such as the 4,000-room Drew (formerly the Fontainebleu); the $3 billion, 3,000-room Resorts World Las Vegas, which will open in 2020; and Paradise Park, a 1,500-room resort also set to open in 2020.
Tesla’s massive gigafactory, located in northern Nevada, has also been a huge boost to the state’s overall development outlook.
New Mexico added 4,800 construction and mining jobs between January 2017 and January 2018, according to its state labor department. According to the state Department of Workforce Solutions, some major building projects over the past year were the Big Shots Golf Venue, near Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park.
Another golf company, Topgolf, is set to open a new recreational facility in Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico.
Further, Ultra Health is planning to build the state’s largest cannabis production and distribution site in Tularosa.