A lull in construction jobs is one of the reasons the Louisiana economy seems to have slowed down a bit, but those in the industry are optimistic the tide is set to turn. Pelican Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors CEO David Helveston says it’s true that this year and last year haven’t been great for the construction industry.

“We really peaked in our area around July 2017 and since July 2017 in the construction industry alone we’ve lost 30,000 jobs in the last two years,” said Helveston.

Louisiana Workforce Commission numbers show the state hit an eight-year peak of 156,100 construction jobs in mid-2017 but declined to 141,400 such jobs this year.

But Helveston says there are over 100 billion dollars of new construction projects on the horizon centered on petrochemical plants in southeast Louisiana.

“There’s a number of projects that we are very optimistic will begin late 2019, early-2020, there are some projects down in the St. James Parish that are very substantial, in the 10-billion dollar range,” said Helveston.

Helveston says it’s not unusual to see substantial peaks and valleys in the Louisiana construction economy considering so much of it is based on decisions made in other countries.

“So much is fueled by natural gas prices and international markets, so it comes down to financing long-term contracts, with companies around the world, so much of it is cyclical,” said Helveston.

The state hit an eight-year low for construction jobs back in 2012 with only 121,700.