As the supply of quality construction workers dwindles across the country, demand continues rising, especially in South Florida.
The Miami metro area added 7,000 new construction jobs between March 2015 and March of this year, according to a report released on Wednesday from the Associated General Contractors of America.
Miami saw the seventh highest increase in construction jobs out of 358 metropolitan areas surveyed using data from the U.S. Department of Labor, Dan Whiteman, vice chairman of Coastal Construction and the Miami chapter’s board member and treasurer, told The Real Deal. Out of those metros, 244 added new jobs between 2015 and 2016, including Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Orlando. The remaining 70 metros, which includes West Palm Beach, are still recovering from the recession, Whiteman said.
In 2012, 30,600 people were employed in the construction industry in Miami. Today, that number is 46,100.
To combat the dwindling availability of quality labor, Whiteman said the association’s South Florida chapter encourages raising the levels of skills of local workers first through local schools like Miami Dade College.
As of January, the amount of new construction contracts fell by 16 percent compared to last year, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. While the commercial sector saw a decrease, the residential sector closed more deals on a year-over-year basis. It’s important to note that those are new contracts, and a number of major projects in South Florida will break ground or continue building this year.
Whiteman said he expects CoastalTishman will have anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 workers on the Miami Worldcenter construction site. “We have not had to bring in workers from other places yet,” he said.
As of April 1, Coastal has 3,600 employees including those subcontracted out in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Other big firms in South Florida include Plaza Construction, Turner Construction, Suffolk Construction and Balfour Beatty.