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PHOENIX -- The head of the Arizona Construction Association said Arizona lost almost 210,000 construction workers during the recession.

The shortage of carpenters, framers, masons and roofers is reportedly causing builders to poach the competition's crews by offering more money.

"If they're trying to pull from everywhere, it tells me the recent appetite for residential construction is now escalating and the people aren't there," said David Jones, president of the Arizona Construction Association.

Jones said many construction workers left because of the state's tough immigration laws and may not return. On top of this, the younger generation is more interested in technology jobs than backbreaking work in construction.

"They're young and they're bright but not interested in working with their hands and minds in a physically demanding job," he said.

Jones said returning American troops may be an option to fill the construction jobs.

"That may well be a reservoir that we will rely on for skilled labor," he said. "They have construction skills, know how to operate equipment and want to work when they come home."

Jim Cross, Reporter

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