Recent news about construction starts and employment may suggest a glimmer of light at the end of a dark three-year tunnel.
The ADP National Employment Report released on January 5th announced that the construction industry added 26,000 new jobs last month. The U.S. Department of Labor on the other hand, reported an increase of 17,000 new construction jobs. Either way, the change is in the right direction, and measurable.
Add to this an article in the San Diego Union Tribune that totaled the city’s current construction projects at $13.4 billion. That’s for new hospitals, highway and rail improvements, courthouses and hotels, military and college construction. Prospective residential and commercial development accounts for an additional $10 billion. Even if the second number falls short, it would seem the region is staged for a new construction boom.
Major projects are getting underway across North America. A $150 million railway project in Washington State promises to add 4,000 construction jobs. The New York DOT is fast-tracking a $5.2 billion, 5-year project to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge and add jobs quickly. TransCanda is awaiting approval from the Obama administration to begin work on its $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline project that will add another 13,000 new construction jobs in the U.S., plus 7,000 in the manufacturing sector.
Sorting through mixed messages over the last few years has proven difficult. Terms like recover and rebound have been quickly thrown out and just as quickly rescinded. As positive news emerges on new jobs and construction starts, let’s hope we can get off the roller coaster and move forward with confidence.