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Construction Workers: Life After the Boom
Construction Workers: Life After the Boom

AIR DATE: February 16, 2011

City Center is done being built, and many housing projects are stalled. So what does that mean for the people who - literally - build this city. While statewide unemployment is 14.3%, as much as 50% of construction workers are unemployed. So how are construction workers faring in the recession? Are they staying in the same field? How easy or hard is it to transfer their skills? How are they getting by financially? And are unions and legislators doing enough for them during this recession? Las Vegas construction workers share their stories about life after the boom.

Rob Waddell, unemployed plumber
David Bouch, pipefitter
Tony Illia, development reporter, Las Vegas Business Press
Deb Orozco, unemployed laborer
John Kanipe, unemployed laborer

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My husband is a Carpenter & got hurt on the job. After two ankle surgeries he is getting released from the doctor. We are very nervous & are willing to move out of the state. We lost our insurance & are behind in our house payments. It's taken a huge toll on our family & marriage . The financial frustration & arguing takes a huge burden.
Margeaux WalshFeb 17, 2011 21:00:23 PM
My husband and I are also out of work construction workers. We are fortunate enough to qualify for financial aid and loans and are back in school full time working towards degrees in different fields while waiting for the work to pick up again. We do this, not so we can leave construction permenantly, but so in future down cycles we have other skills to rely on for other areas of work. But I relate to the optomism of your panel. Our state legislature has needed to pass bills to put these people back to work at much needed infastructure rebuilding and renewable energy projects. It will create jobs now while creating a new economy for nevada. Quit talking and start doing, is what I tell my legislature and it seems they are starting to listen.
tera burbankFeb 17, 2011 11:50:52 AM
Your story touched me deeply. How can we help?
Deb SampleMar 3, 2011 13:38:50 PM
Like most businesses when there is a surplus in supply, companies will have sells to reduce the large surplus, and get people into the store. Would the unions be willing to reduce wages (for like two years) to encourage companies to build in Nevada? Also if the state passes the bill which only allows Nevadans to work in Nevada, would this not be hypocritical given that many Nevadans are going out of state to work? What happens if others states pass the same bill on us?
Travis Feb 17, 2011 10:14:06 AM
I am encouraged to hear your panel mention renewable energy infrastructure as a source for new jobs. For so many reasons, this seems to be an excellent investment in our state, our nation, and of course, our environment. What are the current issues which are preventing these projects from moving forward? Has the Obama administration's commitment to clean energy and jobs put this on the fast track?
EricaFeb 17, 2011 09:55:01 AM
My family opened a small subcontractor here in 1988. The first thing I would tell our carpenters when they started was to open a savings account because sooner or later the bottom would fall out. Having moved here from Texas it was pretty obvious to me that eventually the boom would crash just like it had in Texas in the 80's. We won't see construction back in southern Nevada on any meaningful scale for at least 20 years.
DavidFeb 17, 2011 09:37:28 AM
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