The construction industry is undergoing a change–several states are showing positive signs of job growth. A June report released by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) indicates found that 20 states added new construction jobs. The catch, however, is the jobs that are available require highly skilled individuals.
The chart above aggregates survey data of the top five anticipated engineering and skilled labor shortages from 2,223 construction industry professionals. As you can see, engineers of all types are expected to remain in high demand.To find out what’s driving job gains in the industry, I recently caught up with AGC’s Chief Economist, Ken Simonson. In my conversation with Simonson, he highlighted three key drivers to the current trends in construction employment.
- Low vacancy rates are spurring investment in apartment complex construction.
- The acceleration of natural gas extraction is fueling related construction job growth.
- 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 that are 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.
Architects: Efficiently building an apartment complex starts at the design process. With new apartment construction increasing, architects familiar with designing multi-family residences will be in high demand.
Carpenter: Naturally, carpenters are in high demand as more complexes are built 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 are know how to run standard power distribution to lighting and other outlets in apartments.
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.
Plumbing Engineering: Natural gas extraction is complex process that involves a lot of fluid dynamics. For this reason, drilling sites typically need a plumbing engineer to help figure out how to manage the hydraulics needed to extract gas from thousands of miles below the Earth’s surface.
Civil Engineering: Of course, effectively planning these roadways requires civil engineers that can effectively plan the infrastructure of these projects.
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.
Structural Engineering: Structural engineers are needed both for apartment construction and for manufacturing facility construction. These engineers need to be able to check facilities to ensure that buildings are up to code, and help amend design plans as construction is underway.
Iron work: 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 run power distribution directly from the electrical grid.
Thanks, Derek, for your post. Please comment below, or check out Derek’s map of construction employment by state and comment there.
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