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Report: Cape Coral-Fort Myers construction jobs up nearly 35%


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Construction employment in the Gulf Coast is booming compared with pre-pandemic levels, according to the Associated Builders and Contractors Florida Gulf Coast.

In the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area, the construction employment base is up 34.7% since the beginning of 2019, ABC Florida Gulf Coast reports. 

Other areas on the Gulf Coast that have added jobs at rates faster than the statewide pace include North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, which saw a 23.8% increase in construction jobs since the start of 2019; Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, where construction employment was up 21% over the same period; and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, which has experienced an 18.1% increase in construction jobs since 2019, according to ABC Florida Gulf Coast.

“The impressive growth in construction employment across Florida's Gulf Coast region, especially in areas like Cape Coral-Fort Myers, underscores the strength and potential of our industry,” ABC Florida Gulf Coast President/CEO Steve Cona III says in a statement.

Image courtesy of ABC Florida Gulf Coast

An increase in construction spending has driven ongoing hiring, according to a statement from ABC Florida Gulf Coast. Construction spending is up 10% over the last year nationwide, the statement says, attributing the increase to “surging manufacturing- and infrastructure-related activity" as well as educational and power-related construction.

Labor costs, meanwhile, have been “tame” in the Sunshine State, the statement says.

As of April, construction workers in Florida were earning $32.19 an hour, below the national average of $37.99, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And over the past year, labor costs in Florida grew by 3.3%, compared to a 5.1% increase nationwide, officials say.

Affordable labor provides a “critical tailwind for Florida’s contractors," amid high interest rates and rising materials costs, ABC Florida Gulf Coast officials say.



Container freight costs are up more than 200% since mid-December, according to the Freightos Baltic Index, a worldwide container and freight rate index. And from January through April, construction input prices rose 3.5%, led by price increases for copper, energy and concrete, officials say.

As high interest rates and increasing materials costs persist, officials say the continuing growth in construction employment marks a positive sign for Florida's Gulf Coast.

“Adding jobs at such a rapid pace, even amidst rising material costs and high interest rates, highlights the resilience and dedication of our workforce,” Cona says in the statement. “This momentum is a clear indicator of the region's bright future and the critical role it plays in driving Florida's overall economic success.”

 

author

Elizabeth King

Elizabeth is a business news reporter with the Business Observer, covering primarily Sarasota-Bradenton, in addition to other parts of the region. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, she previously covered hyperlocal news in Maryland for Patch for 12 years. Now she lives in Sarasota County.

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