If you’ve driven anywhere in Pittsburgh in the last year or so, you’ve definitely seen or been in the middle of a construction zone. Between 376’s closed lanes, the seemingly constant renovation of buildings Downtown, the development on the North Shore between PNC Park and Heinz Field, and finally, some of the potholes on Forbes in Oakland being filled, construction has been booming throughout the entire city! For a list of all major current and upcoming construction projects in the Pittsburgh area, check out this article from WTAE.
In fact, Construction was the fastest growing industry in the Pittsburgh region in 2017. 5,300 people were hired by Construction companies, growing the total industry by 11% and bringing the total employment to 55,000 people. Meanwhile, the Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania anticipates needing double the amount of apprentices, in the coming years. This immense growth shows no sign of slowing any time soon. Pittsburgh’s huge increase in construction jobs is particularly meaningful considering Pittsburgh’s higher unemployment rate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the overall Pittsburgh Metro Area’s unemployment rate to be 4.7%, with surrounding counties being as high as 6.8%, and the national average at 4.1%. So this influx of new construction jobs is of great assistance, helping to improve both the Pittsburgh and surrounding community’s infrastructure and employment!
With the need so great, where are we going to get such skilled labor? The Riverside Center for Innovation (RCI) and The Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence (IEE) have teamed up to help start-up and small, diverse, construction businesses get prepared to take advantage of this opportunity! The BizFit program, now in its 3rd year, offers a workshop series that helps these construction businesses start and scale by offering relevant educational programming that covers everything from bidding, to bonding, financing to finding potential clients or prime contractors.
If you are a contractor looking to do business with government agencies, please stop by the Small Business Administration’s Pittsburgh Office for their no-cost webinars like How to prepare government contract proposals which offers insight into the requirements and application process behind government contracts.
A boom in construction jobs in 2018 could pave the way to bring people back into the labor force, which has a cascading effect on many local industries. Check out The Small Business Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh and let us know how we can help!