by Cameron Macht
Buoyed by record low mortgage rates and a recovering economy, home sales seemed to pick up across the state in the last year. This housing recovery led to welcome job gains in the construction of buildings sector, where jobs increased by 3.4 percent between 2010 and 2011.
After cutting more than a quarter of their employees since 2007 due to the recession and housing slowdown, building construction firms gained 684 jobs in the last year, with employment growth spread across most of the state. The fastest job growth occurred in Central and Southwest Minnesota, with steady gains in the Twin Cities and Southeast Minnesota.
Not surprisingly, carpenters made up the largest share of employment in the building construction industry, followed by construction laborers, supervisors and construction foremen, construction managers, cost estimators, plumbers, and cement masons, as well as various office occupations like secretaries and office clerks.
For jobseekers looking to land a job, most of the occupations in the industry can be learned through on-the-job training or related work experience, though the highest-paying jobs tend to require college degrees.
For those hoping to have a career in the industry, many of the occupations are also expected to see steady job growth over the next decade. In fact, carpenters ranks in the top 10 high demand/high pay occupations in Minnesota. Remember that new entrants to this occupation may face competition as many skilled workers laid off during the recession are also seeking employment. A formal training or apprenticeship program is common in this field.
There are also opportunities in this sector for self-employment. According to the Census Bureau’s Nonemployer Statistics program, there were 11,349 self-employed businesses in the construction of buildings industry in Minnesota in 2009.