Local Construction Industry Has Jobs, Needs Workers

Wed March 12, 2003 - Northeast Edition

The Keystone Chapter, Associated Builders & Contractors Inc. (ABC), has released the findings from its 2003 Economic Survey. In addition to the economy, the biggest challenge facing south-central Pennsylvania contractors is a workforce shortage.

ABC Keystone Chapter President John R. Zimmer said, “More than 60 percent of our members are looking to hire additional employees this year. Companies are looking at their backlogs — 68 percent of which have either increased or stayed the same as last year — as a measure of how many workers they will need. To continue building in Berks, Lancaster, York, Dauphin and the surrounding counties, ABC member companies will need to fill more than 600 positions.

“The need for more workers is evident,” reported Zimmer. “Fifty-six percent of our members indicate that their annual volume of work will increase in 2003, which amplifies the fact that construction is a viable career choice.”

Contractors also have revealed that not only do they need workers, but they also need equipment. Thirty-six percent of ABC’s membership suggested that they will be making major equipment purchases this year, ranging from $7,500- to $2-million budgeted for equipment.

“There is ’guarded optimism’ for 2003,” said Zimmer. “ABC members envisioned a better 2002 than what came to pass and therefore are being a little more cautious in their projections for this year. Although there are many major projects looming in the near future, it is uncertain how much that work will be cornered by ABC members. If they are successful on these bid days, it could turn out to be a great year.”

ABC Keystone has partnered with the Workforce Investment Board and the local homebuilders associations to promote the industry in an effort to address the workforce shortage. Interested applicants should contact a local CareerLink at 866/885-7475 where they will be trained if needed and referred to an employer.

For more information, visit www.abckeystone.org.