Eau Claire (WQOW) - There's a new title for our area, tops when it comes to job growth, particularly construction. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, Eau Claire is second in the nation, adding hundreds of new construction, mining, and logging jobs in the past year.
"Anytime you're ranked high on a labor statistic that is talking about, or showing job creation, or growth, that's a very positive sign," says Brian Doudna, with the Eau Claire Economic Development Corporation.
Around almost any corner you turn in Eau Claire, what you'll find is construction.
Mike Traynor, the Associate Director for Facilities at UW-Eau Claire says, "It's always busy, we always have some kind of construction going on but it's not always this busy. This is a little exceptional at the moment."
Just take a stroll trough UW-Eau Claire's campus and what you'll hear is the sound of a new education building coming to life. And to make it all happen, you need construction workers.
Traynor says, "Probably a big building like this would have anywhere from 50 to 100 would be pretty typical."
It's because of projects like these, the Eau Claire area has gained one thousand more construction, mining, and logging jobs in the last year.
Doudna says, "The federal government actually collects this data from payrolls from area employers. So they actually come out with employment projections and employment results."
According to the Eau Claire Economic Development Corporation, a boom in area sand mining operations has given the numbers a big boost.
"With our normal construction we would see and be above the middle of the pack because we had a great construction year, however, long term, the impact of various sand plants being constructed starting operations... that's where you're going to see the long term of us being ahead of the curve," explains Doudna.
Though when the dust settles, there's the question of sustainability. Doudna says, "Construction industry is always cyclical so what we try to do is level that out as much as possible. But that's tied to, making sure, from an economic development standpoint; we're supporting local companies in expanding."
Several other projects in Eau Claire have helped boost job numbers, including expansions by Bush Brothers and Nestle, the County Jail Project, and the new Davies Center on the university's campus. Several upcoming projects include a new building for JAMF, and the Indianhead expansion.