The Fall and Rise of Utah’s Construction Industry
By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist
What happened to construction workers?
"It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” –Charles Darwin
The pre-Great-Recession economic boom was built on the back on the construction industry. In Utah and across the nation, a speculative housing-price bubble resulted in a huge demand for construction workers. However, once that bubble popped, many construction personnel were left without employment. What happened to that workforce? And once expansion returned, where did the building industry find a replenishing supply of employees? While a notable number of construction workers experienced a spell of persistent nonemployment during the recession, many found jobs in the construction industry as well as other industries. Still others moved to nearby states for employment while a smaller number moved even farther afield. When the industry began expanding again it drew workers from the same industries that had hired separated construction employees during the recession. In turn, states which had attracted separated construction workers were typically those which fed Utah construction hires on the upswing.
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