Monte Whaley | The Denver Post

Denver is one of the few metro areas in the country that added construction jobs last year, thanks in part to the redo of Denver Union Station and the 122-mile FasTracks mass-transit project, transportation and construction officials said Tuesday.

“A nationwide survey of construction firms found that two-thirds of contractors are already having a hard time finding qualified workers,” Simonson said while standing in the middle of the Union Station Transit Center. “Seventy-nine percent of contractors expect the shortages to remain bad, or get even worse, over the coming year.”

Construction worker shortages, Simonson added, can hamper broader economic growth “by needlessly delaying and inflating the cost of construction and development projects.”

The Denver metro area is the exception as it placed among the top 10 out of 339 metro areas in the country for construction jobs added in the past year, Simonson said. According to the contractor group, the Denver metro area added 3,600 construction jobs between February 2013 and February 2014.

He noted that construction employment in the metro area has gone from a February low point of 64,300 in February 2011 to 77,500 in February 2014. That 21 percent increase is more than double the 9 percent increase in construction employment nationwide in the past three years. {….}

Workers take part in a fire- safety drill Tuesday as work continues on the massive face-lift at Denver Union Station that has been a boon for construction
Workers take part in a fire- safety drill Tuesday as work continues on the massive face-lift at Denver Union Station that has been a boon for construction jobs. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)