Missouri currently needs more construction workers, as industry employment in the state has been on a downward trend, according to the Associated General Contractors of Missouri (AGC).
In Kansas City, for instance, construction jobs have fallen 11 percent by 3,100 workers. This decline represented the third worst rate nationwide. Despite the shortfall, the AGC said that salaries for construction workers relatively exceed the average pay in the state.
Those who work in the construction sector earn an average of $56,000, while construction wages amounted to a total of $7 billion, according to the AGC of America Workforce Survey. The average salary means that construction jobs pay 20% more than all private sector workers in Missouri. Even if jobs pay well, the poll showed that around 71% of contractors find it hard to fill hourly positions, while 20% are unable to hire salaried field workers.
Based on the survey, the construction industry also plays a significant role in economic growth. Its contribution worth $11 billion accounted for nearly 4% of the state’s $301 billion Gross Domestic Product. Construction jobs may be scarce, but facilities requiring concrete replacement in Kansas City could be an opportunity to hire more workers.
Some of the other areas for potential employment require road maintenance in the state. Kansas City and state officials seek to repair the Buck O’Neil/Broadway Bridge. However, funding presents a major challenge especially since raising the 17-cent gas tax remains unpopular.
Retiring baby boomers also contribute to the shortage of workers, as these people normally retire when they reach 55 years old, according to Don Greenwell with the AGC – Kansas City. Still, the state needs to find a solution soon, as many have sought work in Arkansas, Republican State Representative Bill Reiboldt said.
Missouri needs to find a solution to the construction employment shortage before skilled workers seek jobs in nearby states.