Minnesota's beleaguered construction sector is showing signs of a turnaround.
Employers in the state added an estimated 6,200 jobs in February. Construction was among the top sectors gaining jobs, adding an estimated 1,300 positions.
The uptick in construction employment is driven by job gains among electricians, carpenters, plumbers and other specialty trades workers, said the state Department of Employment and Economic Development.
Plumbers' job prospects are improving slowly and slightly, said Stan Theis, business manager of the St. Paul plumbers union.
"We still have close to 200 members who are unemployed or underemployed for sure," he said. "There are some projects that'll be starting this spring and summer — but could use a heck of a lot more. That's for sure. Our members are still hurting."
Though the state overall has regained more than half the jobs that disappeared in the recession, construction has yet to recover even one-quarter of the 46,000 jobs the industry lost.