Denver Tops New Construction Jobs – Execs Cautiously Optimistic

The Denver area gained more than 6,000 construction jobs in the year that ended in February. That was the biggest gain in the country, according to a new report by the Associated General Contractors of America. But as CPR’s Pat Mack reports, the construction industry has a ways to go to recover from the economic downturn that began in 2008.

Here is a transcript of Pat Mack's report:

Reporter Pat Mack: Mortenson Construction’s Denver office is seeing an increase in business. Vice President Bob Hansen says the company began hiring last summer and by the end of the year will add back many of the jobs it cut when the economy soured.

Bob Hansen: We’re seeing a lot more activity in the private sector.

Reporter: Private sector construction spending increased 10% in the metro area. Hansen says apartment building construction has jumped the most, but he’s also seeing more hotels and office buildings being built. 

Hansen: Cautiously optimistic is where I would put the market at.

Reporter: Trey Nobles, a vice president at PCL Construction, agrees with that assessment. His company isn’t hiring in the metro area. But he says he’s encouraged because he’s hearing from architects and engineers that they have more work, and that could lead to more projects for his company.

Trey Nobles: So that’s encouraging for us in the long term that things will trend in the right direction.

Reporter: But both company executives say the construction business remains highly competitive. Some companies continue to bid at or below cost on projects. And government spending on construction fell 1% in the metro area. Tight state and federal budgets could mean a further drop.

[Photo: CPR; Trey Nobles, PCL Construction]

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