Note: This story originally appeared in the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Construction jobs in Santa Fe reached 3,100 in October, the highest level since November 2013, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.
Santa Fe construction jobs have been trending upward from 2,800 since January and likely will continue to increase, said Peter Brill, president of Sarcon Construction, one of the larger construction companies in Northern New Mexico.
Santa Fe has fluctuated between 2,700 and 3,100 construction jobs, remaining within that range since April 2011, except for a brief spike to 3,300 and 3,400 jobs in October and November 2013, according to AGC statistics.
Brill believes construction jobs will continue to increase and possibly eclipse the 2013 numbers, but he doesn’t believe the number will reach Santa Fe’s record construction job count of 5,100 in 2006 and 2007.
“It isn’t going to be an aggressive way but a steady way,” Brill said. “My sense of this is there are multifamily projects coming. There’s so much need for affordable housing and market-rate housing.”
Nationally, Santa Fe ranked No. 232 of 358 metropolitan areas with a 3 percent construction job gain in October over the previous year. Albuquerque ranked No. 197 with a 4 percent gain in AGC’s monthly analysis of federal employment data for metropolitan areas.
“I would say it’s a modestly decent market compared to other places in the country,” Brill said. “I don’t think it’s going to take off the way it did 10-12 years ago.”
New Mexico as a whole ranked No. 11 among states with 7.3 percent construction job growth. Brill believes that’s likely because of growth in the oil and gas sectors in Hobbs and Farmington.
There has been a nationwide shortage in qualified construction workers, which also has hindered the increase in construction jobs in Santa Fe. Brill sees that easing slightly.
“I’m seeing [construction] people coming from out of state and out-of-state crews,” Brill said.