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Record Year for Construction in Sioux Falls

Construction activity in Sioux Falls broke three records in 2014.   Nearly 15-thousand building permits with a valuation of $620 million surpassed 2013 record year – and more housing units were constructed.  

Three of the last four years city leaders announce record setting construction activity.  Mike Cooper is the Director of Planning and Building Services.  He says the key to growth right now is employment.  About 23-hundred more workers now call Sioux Falls home than in 2013. Cooper says he doesn’t see it slowing in the year ahead.  

"We have many many projects that we know will continue on in 2015 that are starting now that have started in 2014.  There are a lot of conversations that we’re having with developers whether they’re home builders or economic developers or manufacturers who are looking forward to hopefully getting their projects started in 2015," says Cooper.

But the city’s low unemployment rate is too low according to Mayor Mike Huether.  He says they’re leaving money on the table because there aren’t enough available workers.  He says developers had two choices when the economic recovery started four years ago.

"Either be on top of this economic wave and roll with it or be caught in the under tone.  There are a lot of these folks that are just now starting to hire and they’re struggling and there are other companies they really put forth a really good effort to hire people proactively build their infrastructure proactively and now they’re just kicking butt and taking names," says Huether.

Huether says he’s working with the governor on economic development projects that will benefit both the city and the state.

Cara Hetland is the Director of Radio and Journalism Content for South Dakota Public Broadcasting.