A number of major public and private projects -- some expected to cost nearly $2 billion -- and a rebounding housing market have revived demand for skilled construction workers in Iowa. Builders are finding, however, that they can't find enough qualified people to meet the need. "A lot of workers have been out of the construction business for seven years now. And it’s quite likely that most of them have moved on," explains Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America. "They’ve either been hired in other industries, they’ve gone back to school, or they’ve retired and dropped out of the labor force."

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