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The State of Skilled Trades in Texas: 2019-2020 Construction Industry Update

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Where might welders, pipefitters, electricians and other skilled tradespeople have some of the best job opportunities in the country right now? The Lone Star State, Texas.

Texas continues to be one of the leading states in terms of job growth[1]—particularly when it comes to the construction industry. The sector’s job outlook for 2019-2020 is exceptionally positive.

Check out what a career in the skilled trades could hold in store for you in Texas.

Is There a Construction Labor Shortage in Texas?

The entire nation is suffering from a labor shortage in the skilled trades, but Texas has an especially high demand for skilled trades workers like welders and plumbers.

“It’s a growing industry, up to 30 percent of new jobs created in Texas over the next 10 years are either going to be in the construction trades or manufacturing, so there’s a lot of opportunities out there,” Jeremiah Bentley, of Texas Mutual Insurance Company, told KVUE.

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Texas’ Skilled Trades Shortage

Texas has an incredibly flourishing construction industry. Employment in the sector has reached record highs:

  • The state’s construction employment grew by 6.4 percent in 2018, adding 46,800 jobs, more than any other state in the country. [2]
  • Still, 76 percent of construction firms surveyed by Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) said that they were having a hard time filling positions, and two thirds stated that it will remain as difficult or become even more difficult over the next 12 months.

Incentives for Skilled Trades Workers in Texas

The worker shortage is by far the top concern for Texas construction firms. Many are offering incentives to attract skilled trades men and women to their job sites:

  • The problem is so dire in the state that almost half of the survey’s respondents attested that they had increased base pay rates in 2018 to fill positions.
  • Plus, 59 percent of the construction firms reported that they will increase their investment in training and development in order to address their workforce shortages.[3]

This is great news for those who are pursuing skilled trades training like welding classes or electrician training, and planning to work in Texas. The state’s construction industry shows no signs of slowing down.

Where Are The Most Construction Jobs in Texas?

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While employment in the construction industry is at its highest since June 2008 nationwide, several Texas regions report particularly strong numbers:

  • The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land area in the south of Texas added the most construction jobs over the past year, a total of 5 percent or 10,700 jobs.
  • The Dallas-Plano-Irving area further north saw growth of 6 percent, with 7,800 new jobs.
  • The Midland region gained 23 percent, or 6,000 jobs.

Dallas

“We see no slow-down on the horizon. All sectors right now are very robust,” Meloni McDaniel, president/CEO of TEXO, a joint chapter in Dallas-Fort Worth of AGC and ABC, said to ENR.

McDaniel explained that as families move into the Dallas-Fort Worth area, infrastructure needs will grow even further, noting that Texas is expected to have 50 million inhabitants by 2040.[4]

San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas’ second-largest city, is another boomtown that is plagued by severe workforce shortages.

Unemployment in San Antonio is at a 20-year low of 3.1 percent, making it extremely hard for construction firms to add workers.

Construction jobs rose by 11 percent in the first quarter of 2019, but numerous companies complained that they had to turn down work or hold back bidding on projects because they don’t have enough workers. The need for skilled workers is completely outpacing local and national measures to promote trades careers.

What we’re trying to do is just offer competitive wages or pay rates, and we offer good benefits with medical and 401k plans and bonus structures that a lot of our competitors probably aren’t doing,” Brian Lennard, vice president at concrete contractor T&D Moravits & Co, said. “We bonus all of our employees at least annually. All of our foremen, we have a separate program set up where they get quarterly bonuses based on performance. [5]

Texas’ major metro areas—some of them are the fastest growing in the entire country—offer many promising career opportunities in construction.

What Are High Paying Construction Jobs in Texas?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median yearly wage for all construction and extraction occupations in Texas is $44,510.

Which construction jobs pay even more than that in Texas?

  • Boilermakers: Boilermakers assemble, install and repair boilers and other vessels or containers that hold liquids and gases.[6] Texan boilermakers earn a yearly salary of $57,480.[7]
  • Electricians: These tradesmen and women service electrical power, communications, lighting and control systems in buildings.[8] The median wage for this job is $50,980 per year in Texas.7
  • Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers: The main job duty of reinforcing iron and rebar workers is positioning and securing steel bars or mesh in concrete.[9] These tradeworkers make $49,360 per year in the country’s second-largest state.7
  • Plumbers, Pipefitters and Steamfitters: Plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters install and repair pipes that carry liquids or gases.[10] Their median annual salary in Texas is $49,180.7
  • Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers: These tradespersons join, cut or repair metal parts with hand-held or remotely controlled equipment.[11] In Texas, they earn a median wage of $46,140 per year.7

Texas: The State to Be for Skilled Trades Work

Construction jobs aren’t the only promising skilled trades career opportunities in the Lone Star State.

Learn about how much welders can make in Texas based on specialization or location.

In any case, Texas is the place to be for skilled trades workers in 2019 and 2020.

Additional Sources