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Construction jobs booming in Havasu

September 3, 2018

Lake Havasu City’s construction industry is booming.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in mining, logging and construction for the Havasu and Kingman area has increased by 10.3 percent over a 12 month period, which was the highest change of all the other categories. Employment in the mining, logging and construction category totaled 3,200 in July, the agency reported.

While little mining and logging occur in Havasu, construction efforts can be observed throughout the city with recent developments being a Holiday Inn Express next to the London Bridge and an independent senior living facility on the corner of Swanson Avenue and Cypress Drive, among others.

“It wouldn’t surprise me that construction would have significant growth because I think everywhere you look around town something is going up,” said Lisa Krueger, president and CEO of the Lake Havasu Area Chamber of Commerce. “I think it’s a great sign of an improving economy, we know that during the Great Recession one of the hardest industries hit was construction and we lost a lot of people that moved out of the community during those years that were in the construction business because there simply wasn’t work for them to do so it’s wonderful to see that type of activity.”

According to the city’s Community Investment Director Greg Froslie, in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, there were a total of 368 single family building permits issued in Havasu, which is 65 more than the year prior. A building report provided by Froslie shows that last fiscal year there were a total of 14 new commercial building permits issued, which was four more than the year prior.

“The City also issued 16 permits for new duplex’s compared to six the previous year and four multi-family permits compared to zero the previous year,” he wrote in an email. “You can see that the other categories we track, including room additions, retaining walls, pools, etc., are all up when compared to the previous year.”

Lisa Theophilus, director of operations at the Colorado River Building Industry Association, said while Havasu’s construction boom is a sign of a strengthening economy, it’s weighing heavy on subcontractors who are in limited supply.

“I think that sometimes leads to people having to reach outside of the area for people to work on those construction jobs,” added Krueger. “Hopefully between the Chamber’s future apprenticeship program, which isn’t off the ground yet but will be soon, and some of the programs that Mohave Community College and other organizations are doing for workforce training for the trades that workforce’s opportunities will get better.”

Krueger pointed out that Havasu has also seen a recent increase in restaurant openings, citing the El Padrino Italian Bistro on the south side of town as an example, among others. She credited the increase to strong tourism numbers in Havasu, which are also on the rise.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that leisure and hospitality for the Havasu and Kingman area have increased by 8.8 percent over a 12 month period, which was the second highest change of all the other categories. The agency reported that employment in the leisure and hospitality category totaled 8.7K in July.

Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Terence Concannon reported that Havasu’s bed tax numbers as of June 2018 were around 13 percent higher than the year prior.

“The construction industry is growing and has been nationwide for the last couple of years. A combination of things have led to this in Havasu: increasing visitation, increasing number of people relocating to Havasu. And these things lead to new hotel and restaurant construction, new homes and new retirement and eldercare communities; all things that make our city stronger and more vital for our residents,” he wrote in an email.

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