MISSOULA — Did you know that Montana ranks number one in construction jobs gained?
The Montana construction industry remained strong throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and saw an 11.4% increase in jobs, the highest in the nation.
BMY Construction Group owner Eric Bower says construction jobs are vital because it means safe schools, homes, commercial buildings, and hands-on work experience starting at a young age.
“You know there's so many important factors with construction that it would be devastating to, you know, shut it down,” said Bower, who is based in Missoula.
Despite nationwide material and worker shortages, construction jobs grew during the pandemic thanks to a boom in the housing market. During the pandemic, constriction was deemed essential, which helped construction job growth.
Montana Contractors Association executive director David Smith says that while almost half of the country lost construction jobs during the pandemic, Montana gained them. The Treasure State gained nearly 4,000 jobs between February 2020 and January of 2022.
Smith says that with competitive wages and great benefits they are starting to recruit the next generation as early as 15 years old.
“Construction is honorable, it's safe, it's very profitable," Smith told MTN News. "If you want to work 10 months of the year and take two months off in the wintertime and go skiing or ride snowmobiles, you can do that with construction.”
And Smith says now is the time to do it, "the career opportunities for young people are amazing right now."