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It's about time: Local unions cheer building boom

Local 872 Laborers pumped about all the work about to come their way. The recession is in the rearview mirror. (Jeff Gillan | KSNV)

At the Local 872 training center on Bonanza, things are getting busy.

“And now we’re starting to get those calls, now that everybody is starting to see it nationally – they’re all wanting to come back,” says the local’s training director, Lou DeSalvio.

DeSalvio’s union, and others in Las Vegas, lost members when the Great Recession hit Southern Nevada. Thousands of workers left town looking for work.

Now the work’s coming back, and union guy, and Local 872 member Greg Caruso, hopes he’s about to become a really hot commodity.

“I personally do caulking,” he told me Monday.

For more than a year, no union worked harder than Local 872 to land a stadium in Las Vegas.

And Caruso needs it.

I asked him if he’s had work.

“In and out,” he told me. “It's a struggle. We work three months - out a couple months. Like this stadium. Get everybody working more steady.”

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In the boom, there were 150,000 construction jobs in Nevada.

Then the recession hit, literally hollowing out one of the state’s most vibrant industries, thanks to the devastating housing bust.

“As the downturn unfolded we lost about two-thirds of those jobs - 100,000 of those jobs disappeared over the course of the recession,” says Bill Anderson, the Chief Economist at Nevada’s Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation.

But the boom is returning, first, with a stadium … bringing 19,000 jobs, and a convention center expansion ... bringing 14,000 jobs, and other work, such as Project Neon – the huge Spaghetti Bowl rebuild - bringing thousands more. And on top of that, there’s a boom in multi-family housing projects dotting the valley.

“To us, this is the greatest thing since sliced bread,” says 872’s DeSalvio.

“Now, finally, there's a demand for labor so it's a good thing you're going to have long term steady employment. These are good paying jobs,” says Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak.

Average wage: $40,000 ... building the stadium, or convention center.

For Caruso, it's music to his ears.

“So we're hoping for a big boom,” he tells me.

Looks like he'll get it.

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