A number of possible projects on the horizon could rejuvenate construction job growth in Western Massachusetts, but in the meantime many construction workers are struggling, reports MassLive.com.
Before the recession in 2008, the number of construction jobs in the greater Springfield area totaled 10,300, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The next year, the number dropped to 9,200 and has been stagnant ever since.
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Donahue Institute dispute these statistics, saying that the survey underestimates the number of jobs in the area. Last year, Massachusetts as a state reportedly created 4,200 construction jobs - although many of those were not in Western Massachusetts.
There may be help on the way, however. Two major projects could potentially rejuvenate construction work in the area. One is a resort-style casino that has been talked about for years, and would bring an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 construction jobs to the area. The other is a $400 million gas-fired power plant that could bring approximately 500 construction jobs to the region.
In the meantime, local schools and governments have attempted to green-light as many construction projects as possible. The new $186.5 million teaching center at UMass Amherst is one such project. Various roadwork projects have also kept some contractors in the region busy.
"I can honestly say that school construction has been good for the building tradesmen, and the road construction has helped, too," Daniel D'Alma, president of the Pioneer Valley Building Trades Council, told the news source.
Construction companies looking for more work need to ensure they're ready to tackle the big jobs when they come along. Investing in used construction equipment through the online auction site IronPlanet is one possible strategy. The site's IronClad Assurance allows bidders to view full inspection report, ensuring they know exactly what they're getting.