By 2020, health care and construction expected to be major job creators
While the Minnesota construction sector has come on strong in the past year — gaining 6,500 jobs and expanding at a far faster pace than any industrial sector in the state — it still has roughly 30,000 fewer jobs than it did during the house-building boom back in the mid-2000s.
That’s about to change. New data from Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) indicate the Minnesota construction industry will generate 34,400 new jobs by the end of the decade — an employment growth rate of nearly 40 percent. Keep in mind, that figure is for new jobs only and doesn’t include replacement jobs that will need to be filled when people retire or leave for other occupations.
Only one other sector, health care, is expected to add more jobs in Minnesota by 2020.
Based on a DEED analysis, seven of the state’s top two-dozen fastest-growing occupations between 2010 and 2020 will be in the construction sector, including plumbers, cement masons, electricians and sheet metal workers. Minnesota will need 8,400 carpenters alone by 2020 and nearly 6,300 more electricians by that time.
Where will these new workers come from? The state and construction industry will need to work together to prepare workers for future jobs in the sector. DEED has a number of programs that address skills shortages in construction, health care, manufacturing and other sectors that are looking for quality workers. They include the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership, the Dislocated Worker Program and Minnesota FastTRAC.
Another state program, the Minnesota State Energy Sector Partnership, provides grants that help train people for specialized construction work and other jobs in the green sector. Workers are learning how to install solar panels, build and maintain wind turbines, install green roofing and much more.
Construction is a huge driver of the economy, and it will be important to have enough skilled workers in that sector in the coming years to keep the state’s economic recovery on track, DEED reported.