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Arizona construction workers in demand

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."

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About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite food: Steak and shrimp, and any food on campouts.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Favorite news memory: The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. The 2007 Southern California Firestorm and being at Sky Harbor Airport when the first plane lifted off several days after 9-11. Seeing the American flag on the tail of the Salt Lake City-bound Delta airliner as it took off still gives me goosebumps.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges -- which was outstanding --, Lonesome Dove.

First job: Spinning records at KLER Radio Orofino, Idaho 1980.

First concert: KISS/Cheap Trick 1977 Spokane, WA Coliseum.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, The University of Montana Grizzlies and Texas Rangers.

Outside interests: Sports, camping, fishing, traveling.


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