FARGO — There may be fewer donning hard hats this spring and summer.

The recent 23rd annual Construction Career Fair on Thursday, March 25, was indicative of the need for workers in construction, with positions far outnumbering the people. The event has gone from hundreds to only dozens showing up.

The Associated General Contractors of America says as some parts of the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, employment in construction is still far behind. Soaring materials costs and delayed-delivery times are also threatening future employment.

"(If)you go down 12th Avenue North here, every company seems to have billboards out front - we're hiring, we'll train - and I've never seen that in my 26 years working for Strata," said Strata Corporation regional manager Vince Frost.

Strata has locations scattered statewide, and is in desperate need of drivers, electricians, and quality-control employees.

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Frost also said some people are making more on unemployment than they would working again, lacking the incentive to return.

The lack of workers may mean project delays or cancellations, forcing some to out-source in different states like New Mexico or Texas.

Frost hopes things bounce back, knowing the area is ripe with opportunities to make a living.

"It's amazing that we still have the luxury to have that economy strong here, where a lot of cities don't have that right now," Frost said.