Pocatello faces high demand for contractors

Jan 10th, 2017 | By | Category: Manufacturing/Industry

Journal Staff

ConstructionStock2POCATELLO – A tight market and high demand for contractors is making any effort to hire local help harder for building projects.

The Idaho Department of Labor is projecting a rebound in the construction industry through 2020. In their 10-year projections, this rebound lends to a 39 percent increase in jobs, the fastest projected growth of any industry in Idaho.

“The construction market is really hot right now,” said Dustee Woolstenhulme, Idaho Central Credit Union’s project analyst, and the man at the head of the credit union’s $30 million expansion project in Chubbuck. “There are some large projects going on around us right now so we are having to compete with some of those other projects.”

Because of the influx of large projects, local construction companies aren’t needing to bid as aggressively to get work.

“But in spite of that we chose a couple of contracts where we paid more, sometimes significant amounts, to use local contractors because that’s a value we believe in,” Woolstenhulme said.

The growth in construction is partially fueled by recovery from the bursting of the housing bubble, the Idaho Department of Labor report said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that about 1,300 people in Pocatello are employed in construction and extraction occupations. This includes everything from general contractors to pipe fitters to cement masons and even highway maintenance workers. Employment in these trades is 39.981 people per 1,000 jobs, the BLS report says. In Pocatello, the BLS report says that the average hourly wage is $18.09 her hour and the average annual wage is $37,630.

“We still ended up with a varied mix of Boise and Salt Lake and a little bit out of town,” Woolstenhulme said of the ICCU project. 

But bringing all these out-of-town contractors might have its own economic benefit.

“I’ve spoken to the manger of Maverick quite a bit and he said they are just busy all the time, in part because of this (ICCU expansion project) and Pocatello has been getting busier,” Woolstenhulme said. “The restaurants have been busier, the hotels have been busier, so it is nice that we can contribute that way in addition to employees and taxes and that kind of thing.”

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