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Construction demand continues to rise as worker gap widens

Construction jobs are in high demand with local construction companies constantly looking to hire more workers.

Posted: May 14, 2019 10:11 AM
Updated: Oct 1, 2020 11:09 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Construction jobs are in high demand with local construction companies constantly looking to hire more workers. The lack of qualified workers is a long-time issue that has created a void in trade jobs around the nation and here in the Rogue Valley.

JB Steel is just one local company who says they have experienced this void first hand. Recently the construction company hired at least 20 new employees — partial owner Russ Batzer says he could easily have hired more if there were enough workers available.

“We’re constantly looking for the types of people that would fit the type of work that we do,” says Batzer.

Many construction jobs can begin at the entry level with opportunities for laborers to advance into supervisor positions relatively quickly. One supervisor with JB Steel has done just that; starting out as a laborer at 18 years old, becoming a supervisor by the time he was 26.

Most construction jobs also start off paying above minimum wage, “There’s nothing in construction, that I know of, that has a minimum wage category to it,” explained Batzer. “I mean, if you’re on a prevailing wage job or project that is funded by the state or the feds, entry level is anywhere from $18-$24 an hour, depending on location.”

Schools have recently started shifting towards including more Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs in their curriculum with hopes of encouraging students to pursue a trade.

“We’re all paying for the lack of career tech education, meaning you’re paying higher prices because the demand is beyond the supply of workers,” said Batzer. “If you bring a lot more numbers into it, it’s going to promote competition, you’re going to have more contractors out there and more availability and competition is what drives pricing.”

With more of a push for CTE programs, school can appeal more to those students who don’t plan on going to college. This is also appealing to employers who are looking for workers with experience.

“We would recommend getting involved in shop classes or career tech education classes that are available in their districts,” said Batzer.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 394569

Reported Deaths: 5243
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah60720847
Washington42359405
Marion40153516
Clackamas33040387
Lane30428361
Jackson25105363
Deschutes23795189
Umatilla15144184
Linn14859183
Douglas13523293
Josephine10278247
Yamhill9840143
Klamath9112149
Polk8325102
Benton615338
Malheur593292
Coos5768109
Columbia438056
Jefferson424366
Lincoln365852
Crook343057
Union340756
Wasco318646
Clatsop263635
Baker221833
Tillamook218046
Hood River216537
Morrow197825
Curry193939
Harney121333
Grant109116
Lake105617
Wallowa76313
Sherman1933
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5107717

Reported Deaths: 74800
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles153472027244
San Diego4091824350
Riverside3892365381
San Bernardino3762805983
Orange3352965756
Sacramento1690952452
Kern1582701828
Fresno1574692270
Santa Clara1528571928
Alameda1256281512
San Joaquin1080791835
Ventura1043091192
Contra Costa1042181056
Stanislaus919641429
Tulare867391100
San Francisco57141674
San Mateo56585631
Monterey52842626
Solano47828360
Santa Barbara47523555
Merced45309671
Sonoma43349414
Placer42458473
Imperial38932776
Kings35370367
San Luis Obispo31667360
Madera26388311
Shasta26221461
Butte25608318
Santa Cruz22402224
Yolo21722261
Marin18587249
El Dorado18448168
Sutter14646186
Napa13446106
Yuba1079891
Tehama10316131
Humboldt10294119
Nevada10112105
Mendocino864999
Lassen797656
San Benito787979
Tuolumne778491
Lake7057113
Amador580067
Siskiyou479657
Glenn458536
Calaveras445788
Del Norte377942
Colusa328321
Inyo257346
Plumas19577
Mono19034
Mariposa162218
Trinity100717
Modoc7936
Sierra2190
Unassigned1560
Alpine1080
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