As construction boomed in the mid 2000s, many companies added employees and were then blindsided by the recession and downturn in housing. Some of the laid off went to the oil fields, others retired and some others, at least in Minnesota, turned to independent contracting. This has made hiring at some companies a bit difficult. "We have only two employees in the whole company, and we are a multimillion-dollar company, and we have a lot of independent contractors who work with us," says Alex Shikhlinski, owner of Delta Construction in St. Paul. He says using independents "has become a necessity."