Opportunity Awaits: Construction Trades in High Demand

BY CARRIE MAYNE

The construction industry is one of the most crucial components of any economy, and here in Utah, construction employers are a driving force in our economic success. Not only does construction build out the infrastructure upon which all our economic transactions take place, but it also creates lucrative employment opportunities for job seekers hoping to find high-paying positions in an industry where employers are clamoring to fill openings. And in Utah’s current economic climate, there’s no better time for individuals to consider a career in a construction trade.

Prior to the Great Recession, Utah’s construction employment reached a peak of roughly 110,000. While more than 40 percent of construction positions were lost in the recession, our state has since recovered 95 percent of that employment. Currently, annual construction job growth is running at roughly 6.5 percent, far outpacing overall employment growth of 3.5 percent. These macroeconomic statistics reflect the microeconomic story currently told by construction companies across the state: construction workers are in high demand and employers are struggling to find the workforce they need.

Not only does this translate into bountiful opportunities for job seekers, but it is also a wage bargaining advantage as well. This too bears out in the data. The average monthly salary in the construction industry is currently $4,160, 4.3 percent higher than it was one year ago and a full 8.6 percent higher than the average across all industries. And while one may think a lack of skills, training, or credentials will prevent entry into the trades, it is exactly in these economic conditions where employers are willing to help bridge those gaps, be it through apprenticeships, on- the-job training, or any other tool that allows an employer to build their own workforce. If you have ever considered a career in construction, now more than ever is the time to pursue this track.

Carrie Mayne is the Chief Economic at the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

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