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Tacoma Surpasses Seattle In Construction Employment Growth

Workers move a spool for the Murray Morgan Bridge in Tacoma. Tacoma's growth rate in construction employment surpassed Seattle's in the past year.
"Murray Morgan bridge spool" by Scott Hignst is licensed under CC by 2.0
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Workers move a spool for the Murray Morgan Bridge in Tacoma. Tacoma's growth rate in construction employment surpassed Seattle's in the past year.

More people are getting into the construction industry throughout Washington state, but especially in Tacoma, according to a new analysis of federal data from the Association of General Contractors of America.

The organization looked at how  many people were employed in construction between September 2015 and September 2016.

Construction employment grew by seven percent in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area. But the Tacoma-Lakewood metropolitan area saw 11 percent growth, the 14th fastest in the country.

Seattle has been adding construction jobs at a high rate for the past four years, according to the association's chief economist, Ken Simonson.  Tacoma's recovery from the recession has been slower, but the Seattle area can only grow so much.

"As the engine for growth has overheated...people have started looking for opportunities a little further out where land cost may still be lower and congestion may be lower," Simonson said.

Seattle still employs more people in the industry than Tacoma. But new hotels and condominiums downtown as well as projects along I-5 mean the South Sound city is looking to hire more people in construction.

Simonson said growth Seattle, which ranks 52nd out of more than 350 cities in terms of growth, and the state is still robust compared to the rest of the country. Overall, Washington saw a 9 percent increase in the number of people working in construction.

A Seattle native and former knkx intern, Simone Alicea has returned to the Pacific Northwest from covering breaking news at the Chicago Sun-Times. She earned her Bachelor's of Journalism from Northwestern University. During her undergraduate career, she spent time in Cape Town, South Africa, covering metro news for the Cape Times.
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