St. Louis renovation project to spur construction staffing

04.18.2012


Construction jobs are on the rise in St. Louis.
Construction jobs are on the rise in St. Louis.

Missouri has battled back from the depths of the recession, even as the U.S. as a whole has experienced tepid economic growth. Missouri's unemployment rate has fallen from the height of the recession, hitting 7.4 percent in February, which is significantly lower than the national average of 8.2 percent.

The state's job market has steadily improved over the past few years, according to job experts, and new construction projects are helping drive employment among housing and building companies. In March, private companies in Missouri added more than 4,800 jobs, helping support the overall jobs rebound.

The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) recently announced that a new construction project would result in the hiring of scores of new construction workers. According to officials from the organization, the group is poised to oversee a multimillion-dollar modernization project at the Holy Infant and St. Joseph Apartments.

The apartment complex is for low-income seniors, and it is located just outside of St. Louis, according to officials. In total, state officials said the $13 million renovation and upkeep project would generate more than 75 jobs, helping boost overall construction staffing in the state.

Jeff Aboussie, the executive secretary of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council, said that the renovation project would have a far-reaching impact on the local and state economy.

"[Workers] need good jobs in this economy, but they also appreciate having a chance to give back to the community," he said in a statement. "We are proud that the HIT is using union pension dollars to put union members to work on projects that will improve the quality of life for some of our community's neediest older residents."

The U.S. lost a substantial number of construction jobs in the wake of the worst economic contraction since the Great Depression. However, economists and public officials have become increasingly bullish on growth within the sector, as homebuilders and other construction firms have continued to add workers over the past three months.

HIT chief operating officer Ted Chandler said that the new investment in the renovation of the apartment complex is a part of the organization's efforts to help construction workers find new job placements.

"The HIT's investments in the St. Louis metro area in the last four years have helped leverage $400 million of total development and created nearly 2,700 jobs for members of the building and construction trades unions," he said. "These investments are helping the HIT achieve competitive returns for our investors in addition to bringing jobs and economic development to this community."