Gloomy Picture for Local Construction Jobs

The U.S. Department of Labor says today that national unemployment is the same as it was in January — 9.7%.

It was a point and a half lower than that a year ago at this time.

Construction is getting hit harder than any other job sector, losing nearly 65,000 jobs nationwide last month.

So what does that mean for people in the U.P. who work in construction?

It means a picture about as grim as the national one.

The U.P. Construction Council says they don’t have any active job sites in Marquette County right now.

Because of all the snow and cold, that’s not so unusual.

But the hope is that spring projects, like one that’s possible for NMU’s Ripley Heating Plant, can improve a gloomy outlook.

UPCC president Tony Retaskie says the unemployment is the worst he’s ever seen in the construction industry — 60% in most of the trades.

Retaskie says someone he knows in one particular building trade is reporting 70% joblessness in that line of work locally.