By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE
The St. Louis region has recruited 7,100 individuals into its construction workforce over the past 12 months, quantifying it as in the top four 358 U.S. metro areas to grow their construction trades jobs to this extent.
AGC of Missouri President Leonard Toenjes, speaking at Tuesday’s BuildMO Week celebration in front of the ambulance drop-off area of the future SSM Health Saint Louis University hospital, said statewide construction job growth has also been record setting, year over year, since 12 months ago.
“In August, construction employment in Missouri totaled 125,000, up 2,300 since July 2019, making Missouri the second-highest percentage increase in one-month construction job growth in the nation,” Toenjes said. “Construction is a wonderful choice to build a lifelong career. The average wage for a construction worker in Missouri was $59,442 in 2018, 20 percent higher than the state average for all private-sector employees. Many skilled workers are earning well into six figures every year.”
And that was the crux of Tuesday’s brief press conference: To remind St. Louisans of the impact that the construction industry, its people and its projects, have upon the city, the region and the state.
Alberici Constructors Healthcare Market Leader Troy Musson provided an update on SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital, the venue for BuildMO 2019. Musson said the 800,000-square-foot hospital is on schedule for substantial completion in May 2020 and a Sept. 1, 2020 opening.
“Advances in technology and lean practices – such as advanced scheduling techniques and modular construction – have enabled our team’s craftsmanship and innovation to contribute to what we see today,” said Musson. “We have an outstanding workforce that is working safely and skillfully on this incredible project and has contributed nearly one million man-hours so far.”
City of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said SSM Health’s investment in the new campus – which will include 316 private patient rooms and an expanded Level I trauma center and emergency department – is but one clear example of the nearly $10 billion in construction activity that will occur within the next 12 months across the city.
“There are cranes in the sky and construction dumpsters on the curbs here in St. Louis,” Krewson said. “And it’s a great thing to see those dumpsters. It means someone had the confidence and foresight to invest in our community. The level of investment in this corridor of the city alone – from downtown to Midtown – is indicative of the powerful, positive impact that the construction industry and its workers have on our city and region.”