Recently released numbers showing a low unemployment rate for California is, for the most part, good news; especially for the construction industry.
It is currently strong in Butte County, but those numbers tell more than just one story about future economic growth.
The story plays out in open construction projects and those in the pipeline. For instance, ground preparation is well underway for what will be the site of the new, Loma Vista school in Chico, which is one of several building projects taking place in the region.
Construction Supervisor Brad Cartwright with Clark/Sullivan Construction, is leading a team working on this project. He says the crews have been busy, with a great deal of work taking place, with local schools.
That overview is in line with what the State figures released from California's Employment Development Department indicate. The department reports an uemployment rate of 4.4 percent, which is slighly better than the national average. The strongers sectors leading the numbers are education, health-care services and construction. The numbers, however, bring with them good and bad news.
Kate Leyden is the Executive Director of the Valley Contractors Exchange, based in Chico. It is a trade organization for the construction industry. She says many contractors are having trouble finding skilled workers; so much so they have had to slow down their bidding or stop bidding on new jobs because their schedules are full for 2018.
Leyden explains that the challenge for contractors is that there are not enough workers in the labor pool sufficiently trained and new people have not been trained on construction skills, many of which are now highly technical. She believes it is a training gab which could have a long-term affect on the ability to continue a strong development and economic growth for the region.
It is a reality in which Cartwright agrees, saying when the construction industry is booming, it seems that all the economy is moving strong.