Indiana city posts nation’s second biggest construction job gain

The city of Terre Haute and surrounding areas of western Indiana had the nation's second-highest percentage gain in construction jobs during the past year, a new analysis of job data shows.

A spokesman for one state agency said the region's construction job surge appears to reflect the busy year many parts of the state had catching up on projects stalled by last winter's heavy snows and bitter cold.

The Associated General Contractors of America, which based its analysis on federal employment data, found that construction jobs in the Terre Haute Metropolitan Statistical Area saw a 24-percent increase between October 2013 and October 2014.

The Washington, D.C.-based trade association said that ranks the area second in the nation among the largest percentage gains in all Metropolitan Statistical Areas.

Indiana Department of Workforce Development spokesman Joe Frank said construction jobs statewide were down last winter because brutal winter weather stalled outdoor work. But, in the year since then, construction companies around the state have been "trying to catch up with projects that had been put on hold," he said.

"We had several months where nothing was occurring," Frank told the Tribune-Star of Terre Haute.

Vigo County, the home of Terre Haute, was the driving force behind job growth in the statistical area that includes Sullivan, Vermillion and Clay counties.

Some of those Vigo County projects include ongoing work on an Indiana 641 bypass, construction of a new student housing building in downtown Terre Haute for Indiana State University, a new track and field complex for that campus and various retail store construction projects.

ISU's director of capital planning and improvement, Bryan Duncan, said the campus has a total of 15 projects currently underway that are helping drive local construction jobs. Those projects are among a total of 34 campus ones worth more than $80 million that include some building projects completed over this past summer.

"Construction impacts several jobs, directly and indirectly," Duncan said.

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