First lady praises construction industry hiring

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 10, 2014 at 1:25 pm •  Published: February 10, 2014
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Nearly 180,000 construction jobs were created in the past year, Perez said. About 1.5 million such jobs are forecast to be added through 2022.

Monday's announcement is also timely because of the coming end, later this year, of the U.S. combat role in Afghanistan. Thousands of troops will be returning home and many will be looking for jobs to help support their families.

Unemployment among service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, also known as the 9/11 generation, has declined steadily during the past two years and stood at 7.9 percent in January, versus an overall unemployment rate of 6.6 percent. President Barack Obama often says these veterans shouldn't have to fight for a job after they have fought for their country on the battlefield.

Taking a long view, Mrs. Obama said the industry's commitment is also about more than just putting highly skilled, highly motivated individuals into good jobs with good salaries.

"It's also about providing our companies with the very best workers so that they can keep growing, and they can keep creating even more jobs and strengthening our economy for decades to come," she said.

Jacobs Engineering, Cianbro, the Home Builders Institute and the Associated General Contractors of America are among the dozens of participating companies and associations.

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