AUSTIN - Right now crews are building 12,000 apartment and condo units in Austin. Two-thirds of those are going up in the city center.
"There are a lot of openings,” Jose Garcia, an electrician, said. “I mean if you want to work and are ready to work and you have your tools and you know what you're doing there is a job for everyone."
Ryan Robinson, Austin city demographer, said the explosion in growth is not likely to let up anytime soon. "That pipeline can only get so much bigger,” Robinson said. “In other words, regardless of how rapidly we are growing, regardless of how many units contractors would like to put up, there are only so many tradespeople to hire."
Austin is part of a handful of cities labeled “vibrant" by developers, Robinson said. That means investors are dumping inordinate amounts of money into projects because of the city’s edgy image.
In April, Roy Acevedo brought his electrician company to Austin with just two employees and one job. "Since then, I've hired 70 people on two projects in Austin," Acevedo said.
He also relocated and housed 20 of his own crew from Houston. He can't keep up with demand.
"I think it’s got at least two or three years of momentum built into it simply because of the investment money angle," Robinson said.
The market has changed from contractors and laborers looking for work to them choosing work.
"It's tough. When a customer calls and they say, “Look we have five new projects starting,” you have to staff them with foremen, managers, guys, and laborers, and they are fighting over these people,” Acevedo said.
“You've got only so many resources and it is tough."
For the workforce it's a great problem to have, but for an insatiable building market it's a growing problem only getting bigger.
Austin officials say most of the construction is for housing but they expect to see some big retail projects pop up in the next year or so.