Construction employment in the Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson metropolitan area rose approximately 8% year over year in October as companies advance projects – from transportation to commercial construction – while facing numerous recruitment challenges Associate General Contractor of America said Tuesday.
The above figure is not seasonally adjusted.
The metropolitan area created 4,700 new construction jobs in a 12-month period beginning October 2020, bringing the total number of local construction workers to 62,100, said Kenneth Simonson, chief economist for AGC, a Virginia-based trade association tracking employment in more than 350 metropolitan areas.
the current employment report from the US Department of Labor affirms the metropolitan area’s year-over-year employment figures for the sector while also noting that the construction industry lost 500 jobs in the last month.
“It’s really encouraging to see so much construction going on here in the subway area,” Simonson said during a press conference on Tuesday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. “But with construction demand growing here and elsewhere, companies in many parts of the country are struggling to find enough skilled workers.”
Simonson added that across the country the pandemic has displaced many skilled workers who have retired or found equally lucrative jobs in other historically lower-paying occupations. The shortage of skilled workers on the construction site threatens to undermine economic growth, slow construction Schedules and inflates the cost of major development projects.
Competition for workers
Like other industries after the pandemic lockdown, construction companies are forced to compete for hourly workers against retail and fast food chains who are raising wages to stay competitive, Simonson said.
“While the industry has always paid more than other sectors, during the pandemic we have seen historically poorly paid industries – fast food, warehouses, deliveries – they have increased entry-level salaries dramatically …” he said. “That makes it a challenge for construction to continue to compete.”
At the national level, employment in construction has increased since the end of the decline in construction employment in 2006-2011, Simonson said. Indianapolis hadn’t collapsed as badly, but the rest of the country was hit particularly hard by the pandemic after slowly recovering over the past decade.
A study carried out in September found that around 89 percent of the construction companies surveyed had difficulty finding enough skilled workers to complete projects.
“The pandemic lasted some workers out of the market, although construction demand has remained strong in places like Indianapolis, “Simonson said, adding that Central Indiana remains an example of a metropolis with construction employment growth.
Of the 350+ subway areas it tracks, AGC found that 236 subway areas created new jobs over the past year, including South Bend and the Elkhart-Goshen area, which is high thanks to the RV industry Employment recorded in construction.
Still, the trade organization said October job gains in the Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson metropolitan area reflected one of the largest increases in the past month. More jobs were created in the metropolitan area than in any but eight areas covered by the AGC.
Central Indiana has benefited from a variety of construction projects, including highway and road projects. And Simonson adds that the subway area does not rely heavily on office and retail construction projects to create jobs as both sectors are slower to recover from the pandemic.
However, with the hiring challenges likely to persist, AGC said employment growth in Indianapolis could be undermined if steps are not taken to expand the pool of available workforce.
Anticipate a problem
Since many US companies are already struggling to recruit skilled hourly workers, AGC officials have launched a campaign to attract more Americans to the profession and stopped in Indianapolis to highlight important projects and job growth there.
The association put its efforts to retain and attract workers during a press conference on Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Home of the Indiana Pacers, on Tuesday.
The arena, formerly called Bankers Life Fieldhouse, is the location of one ongoing renovation in three phases to modernize and upgrade the venue. In Indiana, construction was considered an essential branch of the economy during the lockdown of the pandemic so that the projects can continue as planned.
The association has launched a targeted digital advertising campaign and a program to keep newly hired employees. A staff summit was also recently concluded to share tips on effective staff development programs across the country.
In Indiana, AGC of Indiana and Indiana Contractors Inc. are also promoting the need for an updateProfessional education programs in partnership with Indiana High Schools.
Lee Carmichael, President and CEO of Weddle Bros. Construction Cos., An AGC member, was in Gainbridge to discuss the project and provide insight into the challenges the local industry is facing.
The construction workers continued on Tuesday work in an outdoor space adjacent to the area. The area will serve as a communal seating area and include an outdoor basketball court that could be converted into an ice rink in winter.
Workers have also added a new entrance to the east. Construction at Gainbridge Fieldhouse should be completed after the Pacers’ current season is over, Carmichael said.
The work currently being carried out in the arena is expected to be completed in the fall of 2022. Carmichael said his company made adjustments to meet the project’s schedule.
“We adapt. Our crews work longer with fewer people. We find different ways to get things done, ”he said. “The owners have their schedules. Our clients have their schedules, these schedules, but we’re reaching critical mass in terms of labor shortages and we really could use more people interested in this industry. “