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Ohio Construction Jobs Grew In 2017

construction workers

Construction was among the industries that saw the most job growth in Ohio last year, according to state employment data published Wednesday by the U.S. Labor Department.

When it comes to Ohio industries, manufacturing tends to get a lot of the attention. And while those jobs did grow by about 1.5 percent last year, the real star of the latest Labor Department numbers is the construction industry.

By the end of 2017, the state had about 7,000 more construction jobs than it did a year before—a 3.3 percent increase over the same period. Construction employment for the nation as a whole ticked up 3.5 percent)

That trend was driven in large part by pent-up demand for both commercial and residential real estate. And according to a survey by The Associated General Contractors of America, builders are expecting 2018 to be even better, because of the strong economy and calls by politicians to boost infrastructure spending.

Despite the continued growth, the current total number of construction workers in Ohio, around 210,000, is still off its pre-recession highs which, in the years preceding the financial crisis, hovered between 230,000 and 240,000.

Construction job levels Ohio
Credit Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis / U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis / U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The number of construction jobs in Ohio has climbed steadily in the past several years, but is still significantly below pre-recession levels.

Other industry categories that saw net job gains in 2017 include "Financial Activities," which also grew 3.3 percent, and "Leisure & Hospitality," which was up 2.6 percent.

Things weren't so rosy, however, for the state's mining and logging industries, which shed about 5.5 percent of their workforce last year.

Adrian Ma is a business reporter and recovering law clerk for ideastream in Cleveland. Since making the switch from law to journalism, he's reported on how New York's helicopter tour industry is driving residents nuts, why competition is heating up among Ohio realtors, and the controlled-chaos of economist speed-dating. Previously, he was a producer at WNYC News. His work has also aired on NPR's Planet Money, and Marketplace. In 2017, the Association of Independents in Radio designated him a New Voices Scholar, an award recognizing new talent in public media. Some years ago, he worked in a ramen shop.