More construction firms in Iowa expect growth, rather than layoffs, in the industry in 2012. A survey from the Associated General Contractors of America shows 25% of Iowa’s construction companies plan to add workers this year, while just 10% anticipate layoffs.
Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson Kerry Koonce says the state’s construction sector has been growing, albeit slowly, over the past couple years.
“We expect 2012 to pretty much be growth for the construction industry,” Koonce said. “It’s not going to be rocket, overnight growth, but we expect it to be steady growth.” Prior to the recession, around 74,800 Iowans held construction jobs. Thousands of those workers were handed laid off in 2009.
“We didn’t see a lot of progress there for quite a while. We got all the way down to 59,500 (construction jobs) in December 2010,” Koonce said. “Since that point, we’ve come back up about 4,000 jobs.” In November 2011, the latest report available, there were 63,700 Iowans employed in construction. Among the Iowa construction firms that plan to add workers this year, 80-percent reported they would likely add five or fewer employees.