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Contractor fearing construction worker shortage in Louisiana

Last Modified: Monday, July 28, 2014 1:54 PM

By The Associated Press

LAFAYETTE — An Acadiana contractor says there are fears of a labor shortage on the horizon.

The National Bureau of Labor Statistics has released figures showing the construction industry's need for workers will grow twice as fast as the average for all industries. This means that builders could face a 1.6 million-worker shortage by 2022.

However, Seth Lemoine of the Lafayette-based general contractor The Lemoine Co. tells The Advertiser that the shortage could hit Louisiana sooner.

He notes major projects such as South Africa-based Sasol's new $16 billion ethanol plant in Westlake and Cheniere Energy's plan for a receiving terminal in Cameron Parish. And he says some are forecasting a shortage of 80,000 to 85,000 workers in Louisiana over the next three years.

"I think that's probably accurate considering all of the proposed projects actually going on in construction," Lemoine said.

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and other groups have lobbied for improved vocational and technical programs, but education reform won't come fast enough for the approaching demand for workers, Lemoine said.

"Our concern is that with an immediate need for skilled workers, these other projects will certainty impact our business because we are all dipping into the same labor pool."

With the low price of natural gas in America, businesses like Sasol want to move in. American companies in the manufacturing and oil and gas industries are expanding, too, at a rapid pace. Thus the need to keep building, Lemoine said.

Posted By: Bob On: 7/30/2014

Title: Settle down Mike.

Bob, I am referring to the comments made by Mr. Lemoine who is General Construction Contractor and construction work in general and those people who work in the trades not the people whom I would call "operators" who work in the control rooms and units at the plants.
And yes, I have been in the plants, as I work in the plants.
Thank you

And yes, I have been in the plants, as I work in the plants.
Thank you" />

Posted By: Mike On: 7/28/2014

Title: Horrible comments Bob

Wages are too low? Where else will someone possibly 2 years out of high school be able to make $100,000 a year? What industry pays wages of $30+ an hour to non-college graduates? The fault isn't on the industry, it's on the workforce not wanting to work if or when the labor force falls short. And as far as improved working conditions....have you been in a plant since the 70's????? I would guess not. I know many "entry" level college graduates that barely make $50k a year without much of a positive outlook. These jobs will double "entry" level college graduate salaries after the overtime kicks in.

Posted By: Bob On: 7/28/2014

Title: Workers

Increase the pay and improve the working conditions for workers and the industry will be able to attract workers.
The pay grades for entry level workers is too low.
The Constryction industry has to compete with other industries to attract workers.

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