State association head predicts multiyear construction boom


Louisiana could experience a boom in construction activity over the next five to six years, says Ken Naquin, CEO of Louisiana Associated General Contractors.

While higher interest rates and a potential recession create headwinds, billions in infrastructure and petrochemical spending should keep firms busy at least through 2028, he says.

“With the IIJA [the recent federal infrastructure law] and what we’ve done legislatively to put more state money into infrastructure, that’s going to be a multibillion program for years to come,” Naquin says.

A recent report from the national AGC indicates Louisiana added 1,200 construction jobs from August to September, though the construction workforce grew less than 1% year over year, ranking 45th among states for annual growth. Naquin says the latter figure indicates consistency rather than stagnation, noting fierce competition among companies for both skilled labor and supervisors.

“All they’re doing is stealing from each other,” he says.

Housing starts nationwide are down 7.7% in September compared to the same month last year. On the commercial side, Mike Polito, CEO of Baton Rouge commercial general contractor MAPP, says that while marginal projects may not go forward next year, the region has a “good backlog” of work right now.

“The good news is, in our area, governments have a lot of money to spend,” Polito says, adding that the petrochemical industry also is spending.