Construction, tourism add thousands of jobs in 2012

SA Metro jobless rate at 5.7%

SAN ANTONIO – Grab a hard hat. You're living in a construction zone.

From condos to schools to hotels, building is on a high rise.

"Texas is ranked third overall in construction employment growth for the year," said Doug McMurry, executive vice president of the San Antonio Chapter of The Associated General Contractors of America. "The San Antonio numbers are very favorable."

The area added 3,300 construction jobs last year for an 8.2 percent increase over the year before, according to numbers from Workforce Solutions Alamo.

Construction contributed to region's 2.6 percent annual growth rate as the eight-county metro area added 22,000 jobs last year.

The hospitality and tourism industry grew by 8700 jobs. Business and professional careers, hard hit by the recession, rebounded by adding 2,500 jobs.  The education and health care sector expanded by 2,100 jobs.

"Healthcare and biosciences continues to be the No. 1 industry in San Antonio," said Greater Chamber of Commerce President Richard Perez. "Technicians, scientists, nurses all continue to be a big deal."

The Eagle Ford Shale oil and natural gas production continues to be a big deal, too, drawing more people and more jobs.

As the economy improves, McMurry sees growing opportunity to build more and hire more.

"Most firms are reporting some hiring in the first quarter and we expect that to pick up by summer," McMurry said. "We clearly think the worst is behind us."

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