Demand building for construction workers in Las Vegas

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Ten years ago, the country was hit hard by the recession. The construction field took the brunt of it in Las Vegas.

New houses stopped being built and major projects along the Las Vegas strip froze.

Fast forward to 2018, Las Vegas is now one of the fastest improving housing markets with new developments struggling to keep up with demand.

As for bigger projects, the Raiders stadium, Resorts World, Paradise Park and an expanding Las Vegas Convention Center are signs the city is bouncing back.

As one can only imagine, major projects like Resorts World require hundreds of workers and people are willing to meet that demand.

A local labor union is currently seeing a spike in people interested in getting into construction work.

“It always starts in the classroom and it advances towards the shop,” said Bobbie Whitmore, coordinator, Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters.

Whitmore takes 8 News NOW behind the scenes, where future construction workers are studying. She is a training coordinator.

“We budgeted this year to bring in additional tools,”

Amidst a construction boom, the labor union anticipates doubling the number of members in the next 18 months.

“We’re at the calm before the storm right now. There’s going to be huge demand,” said Frank Hawk, business manager, Southwest Regional Counsel of Carpenters.

Hawk, says they plan on using portable classrooms to accommodate the influx.

According to the governor’s office of economic development, Nevada is 18-percent above the national average when it comes to construction workers, but it’s not enough to meet demands.

That’s in part due to the state having the second fastest population growth in the country.

“The demand was bigger in 2006 so when City Center was going, you had the Echelon, you had the Trump Tower, you had all these projects going all at once,” Hawk said. “We were able to meet it.” 

In fact, it was in 2006 when the state hit its peak with 146,000 construction workers. But during the economic downfall, Nevada lost 96,000 jobs hitting its lowest point in 2012.

As of December 2017, there were almost 92,000 workers, an improvement but still below its peak.

“We look at this like a real opportune time to train people to really start a career,” Hawk said.

He adds, their phones have been ringing off the hook with callers from across the country, ready to train.

“I would do it all over again,” Whitmore said. 

Despite the worker shortage, construction is one of the fastest-growing industries in the state.

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