Specialty Firms Seek Solutions To Tight Labor Market
This year’s ENR Southwest Top Specialty Contractors survey includes data from 40 firms, which had combined revenue topping $1.7 billion. As construction spending increases and more workers are hired, the available talent pool is becoming an issue, according to many in the industry.
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals construction put-in-place dipped in Nevada and New Mexico in 2017 compared with the previous year, while Arizona increased construction spending by more than $1 billion. Recently, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada have been outpacing other U.S. states in construction hiring.
According to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Mexico added 1,000 construction jobs, an increase of 2.1% month-over-month from June to July, the largest increase for any state in the U.S. Month-over-month in Nevada, 1,600 jobs were added, an rise of 1.8%, good enough for No. 2 in the nation. Arizona added 300 construction jobs month-over-month, No. 26 in the nation with a rise of 0.2%.
ENR Southwest 2018 Top Specialty Contractors
From July 2017 to July 2018, however, Nevada places No. 1 in percentage job growth in the U.S. with a rise of 9,100 jobs, or 10.9%. Arizona’s percentage growth of construction jobs year-over-year landed at No. 3 in the nation with 14,600 jobs, up 10%. New Mexico ranks No. 6 in the nation in percentage construction job growth with 3,900 jobs added, up 8.6%. There are currently about 300,000 employed in the construction industry combined in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.
The approximately 10% rise in employment year-over-year is beginning to put a squeeze on subcontractors, says Carol Floco, CEO of the Arizona Subcontractors Association.
“I’ve got members that can’t bid on jobs,” Floco says.
Floco estimates there are about 20,000 additional construction jobs that could be filled if there were available workers.
Throughout the region, trade groups, organizations and individual firms are looking to market the industry to lure high school graduates.
The Nevada Chapter of the Associated General Contractors recently began development on a heavy equipment operator training program with a twist: It uses a virtual reality construction equipment simulator. The program received a $200,000 grant from the STEM Workforce Challenge program, administered by the Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology.
The training and safety facility is at the Nevada Chapter AGC office and includes a 1,200-sq-ft classroom featuring two of Caterpillar’s Simformotion heavy-equipment simulators. Completing the six-week course grants a NCCER Heavy Equipment Operations Level 1 certification.
The ranking of the region’s largest specialty contractors can be found on the following pages as well as charts breaking out company revenue by state and market sector.