Construction Seeing A Boost In Business

POSTED: 04:00 AM PST Jan 17, 2013    UPDATED: 04:05 AM PST Jan 29, 2013 

SANTA BARBARA -- Claims for unemployment benefits fell 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted 335,000 which is the lowest level since January 2008. The number of unemployment claims could be a hopeful sign for the labor market. When it comes to jobs, one glimmering light at the end of the tunnel is construction. The industry is seeing its best year in five years. The number of jobless claims across the country dropped to a five year low. This new year, Express Employment Professionals in Santa Barbara is seeing more job openings from employers. "Which is pretty good indication locally. You want to know how staffing agencies are doing. We're a pretty good barometer to how commerce is starting in 2013 and we've seen pretty steady growth so far," said Ian Moats, Express Employment Professionals. While unemployment benefits claims are dropping, construction on new homes is soaring nationwide. Home construction is closely watching because of job creation and its effects on other parts of the economy. "Construction touches I think so many different industries. Just from the construction and the materials it involves financing and when you get so many different sectors of the economy, it does really have a ripple effect," said Karin Perissinotto, Santa Barbara Contractors Association. In the same time period local construction companies got more work, Hayward Lumber in Santa Barbara has seen more customers. "The number of tickets that we write a day has increased by at least 10 percent in the last few months. So it's really good and so is the ticket average has increased as well," said Paulo Sitolini, general manager. On the South Coast there are more remodel jobs than new home construction like most of the country is seeing, but the work is keeping contractors busy. "And we had members coming in here saying 'We have been super busy these last couple of months, last few weeks of the year.' So I think it's a great indicator of what's to come," said Perissinotto. Something to come at the lumber yard will be new employees. "We're looking for more sales people because we can hardly keep up with what we got right now. It's been very, very busy so it's nice," said Sitolini. The Contractors Association is fielding more phone calls and getting more hits on their website from people searching for contractors, designers and architects. http://www.sbcontractors.org/