Oregon construction employment at record highs

MEDFORD, Ore. — Oregon’s construction industry reached a record high number of jobs in recent months.

Oregon’s construction industry employed nearly 110,000 workers according to the Oregon Employment Department.  That is up from 70,000 after the recession in 2008.

“We have shortages through the entire bandwidth of construction in our industry right now,” said Brad Bennington, Executive Officer of Builders Association of Southern Oregon.

With the economy improving both in Oregon and nationally, the Builders Association of Southern Oregon says construction is everywhere in the Rogue Valley.

“If you go and talk to our material suppliers, they’ll tell you that they have been having a very difficult time keeping up with the materials demands here in southern Oregon,” said Bennington.

He says Oregon has only 40 percent of the skilled work force it had 12 years ago and half of that work force is close to retirement.

“So what we’re hoping is that we can get more young people involved in our industry to provide the building services that we need to build the future.”

And workers on job sites agree the opportunity is there.

“It just comes down for a willingness to learn to listen, to make mistakes because we make lots of mistakes, and you make it once and you learn from it and keep going,” said Eric Furrer, a finish carpenter in the rogue valley.

The Builders Association of Southern Oregon will be hosting the 2019 Southern Oregon Home Show in February.

They say they hope to attract thousands of young people to educate them on the job opportunities available.

For more on the event, click here. 

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