Thousands of people remain unemployed and we've heard for several years the construction industry was hard hit. We found home construction is on the rebound.
New homes are popping across the area, particularly near the Notre Dame campus. The National Home Builders Association is projecting a ten to 12 percent increase in 2013 from 2012. So while business isn't as strong as it was before the housing market crash in 2008, at least it's on the right track.
On a brisk November day Dustin Foster is bundled up, braving the cold to make ends meet. \
"There are days, there are definitely days when we start early and don't come back until late," said Foster, a service technician for Overhead Door out of Michiana. He says in the last year he's been doing more and more work at brand new homes.
"They've got two guys, sometimes three that go out every day to put in doors, openers, sometimes both," said Foster. And you can see that surge in residential construction just off Eddy Street near Notre Dame.
Right now, Place Builders Inc. has about 16 projects going on. That's a 75 percent increase from the same time last year.
"Interest rates are so low that it's a great time to build, the other it's maybe a little bit of pent up demand," said Andy Place, vice president of Place Builders Inc. Place says there's no shortage of construction workers.
"There are enough workers to fill the jobs and if you ask the sub-contractors, you'd find that they'd love to have more work," said Place.
Work that all but disappeared in 2008, but is finally starting to come back.
Officials at the St. Joseph County Building Department say through October of this year, they issued 105 building permits: Five more than the year before.
One commercial builder said business is more or less steady, but it's been hard for that sector to bounce back because a lot of existing businesses hesitate to expand due to the struggling economy.