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Construction workers on ground floor of area's growth

The Orlando area is seeing growth in construction jobs as the area continues to grow.
The Orlando area is seeing growth in construction jobs as the area continues to grow.

There were 4,100 construction jobs created in Central Florida between April of 2014 and April of this year, continuing the field's streak as the area continues to add buildings and homes.

The numbers, released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday, also showed the Orlando area overall gained 47,200 jobs over the year in April 2015, the highest number among all Florida metro areas for the 27th consecutive month.

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As of April's end, there were 58,400 employed in the construction field in and around Orlando. The number compares to Central Florida's most recent low point, 43,900 in April 2012, when the area was still cautious about building because of the hits it took during the recession.

In fact, an executive at a leading residential development company bemoaned the fact that it's hard to get construction workers, saying many had moved into other job areas when building took a nosedive during the recession. The executive requested that his name not be used.

But it appears the field is very much back on its feet as projects proliferate. Residential and commercial undertakings in Lake Nona, expansion at Orlando International Airport, and new work on Universal Boulevard and John Young Parkway are among areas fueling demand for construction workers.

There is sentiment the interest will increase. "I expect demand to improve," said Mikael Teshome, economist at PNC Bank. "Central Florida is seeing some fast population growth rates and that creates the need for housing and commercial buildings."

Already, construction has allowed significant job growth in Central Florida as new companies spring up, others move here and existing ones expand.

Over the past year, all major industries in Central Florida have experienced growth. While leisure and hospitality, as expected, gained the most jobs--12,100--professional and business services were not far behind, with 10,500 jobs.

Trade, transportation and utilities added 8,900 jobs, education and health services, 4,600; financial activities, 4,000; government, 1,300; other services, 900; manufacturing, 500; and information, 300.

Central Florida's year-over-year growth job rates were the strongest in the state April over April, with professional and business services at 5.8%, financial activities, 5.7%; trade, transportation and utilities, 4.2%; and government, 1.1%.

Developer Brett Kingstone of MaxKing Holdings said he believes the Orlando area is on a solid trajectory because it is being careful to develop a "sustainable infrastructure and higher value jobs."

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