Construction Employment On The Rise In Wichita

By Will Temby

The tornados that struck Kansas this past weekend damaged McConnell Air Force Base and the Spirit AeroSystems and Boeing plants in Wichita.

According to preliminary estimates, damages could be as high as $283 million in the area.

If there’s a flip side to the disaster, it’s in the construction jobs that are expected to be created as Kansas works to put victims’ lives back on track.

Construction employment already was on the rise.

According to figures released by the Associated General Contractors of America, Wichita’s construction, mining and logging employment totaled 13,800 in February, not seasonally adjusted, which was 7 percent more than a year ago.

That ranked Wichita 68th in percentage growth among 337 metro areas.

Other Kansas MSA figures were: Kansas City, 14,000 jobs, up 1 percent, No. 156, and Topeka, 4,600 jobs, up 10 percent, No. 36.

Statewide, there were 49,300 construction jobs, up 5 percent. In the category that includes construction, mining and logging, in which the Kansas MSAs are measured, there were 58,100 jobs, up 5 percent.

Employment was increasing in many U.S. metro areas thanks in large part to growing private sector demand for construction, according to an AGC news release.

“It is encouraging that the number of metro areas experiencing construction job gains outpaced the number of areas with losses,” Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist, says in the release. “The increases would be even more widespread if not for public sector budget woes and a shaky homebuilding market.”

The storms created havoc and upset lives. But there might be a silver lining, too, especially for construction workers looking for a job after the recession sidelined so many of them for so long.

About the Author

Will Temby

Will has enjoyed a 20-year career in leadership positions in the hospitality and travel industry throughout the U.S. with the Hyatt, Sheraton, Hilton, Renaissance and Steamboat Ski and Resort corporations. Will received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. From 2000-2007, he served as President and CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. He also served as Vice President-Special Projects for the University of Colorado Foundation from 2007 to 2009. Will is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Homeland Defense Foundation and former member of the United States Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. He is married to Nan, has five wonderful children, and enjoys coaching, traveling, hiking, golfing and skiing.

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