Nationwide construction jobs are up, but MS still lags behind - - Jackson, MS

Nationwide construction jobs are up, but MS still lags behind

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By Ashley Conroy

Jackson, MS (WLBT) - Fifteen thousand more construction jobs have been added to the books nationwide, but here in Mississippi the figures are down.

According to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security's latest figures, construction employment from February of 2009 to February 2010, is down 12.3 percent.

Perry Nations from the Associated General Contractors of Mississippi, says those most affected are small building agencies that can't generate enough business.

"I've got a lot of mom and pop operations in the AGC, [that] are really hurting. I mean they're hurting worse than I can ever remember."

He believes part of what's going on is that small businesses are vacating their doors and going out of business. In turn, these doors are now open for new businesses to come in and open up shop.

When this happens, private commercial construction goes down because there's no longer a need to develop new projects.

"So when the economy really and truly does turn around we're gonna have to fill all the vacant buildings first before private development is going to start to build."

In Nations' thirty plus years he's been at the AGC of Mississippi, he thinks this downward construction trend could be a chance for private contractors to go green, and produce more energy efficient construction jobs throughout the state.

"It is retrofitting these vacant buildings to bring them up to modern codes and what have you, for energy efficiency."

Nations thinks even the latest nationwide wide numbers could be off because jobs that halted over the winter are now popping in the spring.

But all in all, he believes the industry will pull itself of this slump.

"But it's going to survive, you cannot go forward without construction."

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