Construction jobs to grow in Florida

Outlook not the same for Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Specialty trade contractor jobs will grow by 4.1 percent annually and building construction jobs will grow by 3.3 percent annually, according to new information from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

That outlook for Florida, however, doesn't necessarily mean Jacksonville's viewpoint is the same.

The department says construction jobs are expected to grow from now to 2019. Part of these projections come from a recent rebound in new housing construction in the state.

Construction reached a high in June, increasing by double-digit percentages for private-residential and non-residential construction -- the highest level since December 2009.

Jacksonville's WorkSource says it isn't training people for construction jobs.

Candace Moody, of WorkSource, said Jacksonville's standpoint isn't the same as the state's.

"Jacksonville was hit really hard with the housing boom and bust, and our foreclosure rate has been higher than most of the other cities in the state," Moody said.

Moody said Tampa is supposed to see a lot of growth.

"They're expecting 6,000 to 7,000 new houses to start," she said. "In Jacksonville, it's more like 350 housing starts. So big difference in the industries from place to place."

Moody said that in the last few years, the Jacksonville metro area has lost nearly 3,000 jobs in construction and logging. She said the biggest challenge for the construction workers who come into WorkSource is finding a new skill set to figure out what to do next.

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