The construction industry is getting busier in Phoenix and Michigan, but one thing is holding contractors back from taking on more jobs -- the lack of skilled workers for projects. An analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by the Associated General Contractors of America shows both areas lost thousands of workers during the economic downturn. With the recovery underway, contractors are "experiencing a real surge of activity," said Aaron Jonker, vice president of the Wolverine Building Group in Grand Rapids, Mich. "Companies are getting stretched to the limit," he added, and that has forced some of them to turn down projects until next year.

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