Workers in construction industry struggling to find jobs

by KHON 2 - Brianne Randle
It's a sight not seen too often these days - a new building under construction in Honolulu.
According to the state, construction permits and jobs continue to show year over year declines.
"There's a lot of people sitting on the bench.  Investment in real-estate development has gone down, lenders have been reluctant to lend money right now," says Dean Uchida, Building Industry Association (BIA) of Hawaii.
Projects ready to move have been stalled.  And so have hundreds of construction workers eager for a job.
"At the peak in 2008 we were at about 40,000 workers, and right now about 36,000-34,00-workers, around there," says Karen Nakamura, Building Industry Association (BIA) of Hawaii.  "That's a huge drop, yes."
Last month the Carpenter's Union revealed more than half of their 6,000 members were unemployed.
"A lot of these are your friends, your neighbors, relatives," says Uchida.
Alex Callanga was out of a job most of this year .
"8 months I was on unemployment," he says.
With a wife and three 3 children to support, working part-time jobs until he was hired to do construction on the re-named Pacifica Honolulu in Kakaako.
"We all have the same problem, some of these guys came from outer island," says Callanga.  "Maui right now, they have little bit job over there."
"We've sen a dramatic slowdown in projects on the neighbor island," says Uchida.
With construction on the Pacifica project nearing it's end, Callanga fears his future is uncertain.
"With us, if we finish this job it will be hard to get another job. Only got 10 more floors to complete and that's it."
The BIA of Hawaii says it is looking to the future.  With construction of the U.H. West Oahu campus and Honolulu's Rail Transit as projects to help the sector rebound.
Author Contact Info: KHON 2 - Brianne Randle