Construction season is starting early within eastern Idaho, but economists say the early spring isn’t the only driver for more construction jobs.
“Construction right now has grown 15 percent, but when you look at the goods producing industry, construction made up 88 percent of that growth,” said Chris St. Jeor, regional economist for the Idaho Department of Labor.
St. Jeor said construction makes up more than 30 percent of the job growth within Idaho since the recession. The only other industries that show similar growth is trade, transportation and utilities.
“More construction is a good thing. Whenever you see construction declining that is a bad sign. So more construction is a great sign,” he said.
Economists and construction and development firms said commercial development has been driving the increase throughout the industry. The Sandcreek Commons in Ammon will service Broulims, Hobby Lobby and the 42,000 square-foot Cabela’s facility. Rexburg has also been filled with quite a bit of construction activity. Brigham Young University-Idaho is building a 108,000 square-foot Science and Technology building, a new Central Energy facility and more student housing throughout campus.
Morgan Construction and Development is one of many firms that have witnessed the demand for construction from new businesses.
“The last year has been really good, it’s been booming for us,” said Morgan Construction and Development President Matt Morgan. “We’ve completed the new Guns and Gear facility, the new Northgate Car Wash facility and we’ve had other commercial projects as well, which include some medical and dental projects between here and over in the treasure valley.”
On the other hand, economists say jobs generated from the industry will continue to drive the state’s decreasing unemployment rate.
“Most construction workers make well above minimum wage. Those are really good paychecks that are being distributed throughout the economy, so those jobs have a lot more bang for their buck,” said St. Jeor.