SAN ANTONIO - The San Antonio chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America would like to issue an urgent message to any energy workers in the area who might be laid off because of falling oil prices.
The message: We want you back.
Let us go back about five years ago. The country still was bogged down in a depressed housing construction market. The construction industry, moreover, also was suffering from a dip in all kinds of contracts because financing was difficult in the weak economy.
Meanwhile, the fracturing drilling technology was reviving oil production, especially in South Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale area. Construction workers found good-paying jobs by switching to oil-and-gas companies.
The table has turned.
The energy industry, beset by a dramatic drop in oil prices, is stomping on the brakes. Layoffs affecting thousands by Texas-based energy companies are announced seemingly every day, hitting some workers in the Eagle Ford.
Meanwhile, the construction industry is booming. The economy is healthy and growing.
Housing inventories are low. Numerous public school bond packages mean schools must be built.
Texas construction companies are hurting for workers, partially because of high volumes of retirements and a low number of new workers to replace them.
“Not a day goes by when we don’t have a conversation about this,” said Doug McMurry, executive vice president of the San Antonio AGC chapter. “We would welcome these folks. We think there are good opportunities.”