LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) _ An Acadiana contractor says there are fears of a labor shortage on the horizon.

The National Bureau of Labor Statistics has released figures showing the construction industry’s need for workers will grow twice as fast as the average for all industries. This means that builders could face a 1.6 million-worker shortage by 2022.

However, Seth Lemoine of the Lafayette-based general contractor The Lemoine Co. tells The Advertiser (Building booms, but where are the workers?) that the shortage could hit Louisiana sooner.

He notes major projects such as South Africa-based Sasol’s new $16 billion ethanol plant in Westlake and Cheniere Energy’s plan for a receiving terminal in Cameron Parish. And he says some are forecasting a shortage of 80,000 to 85,000 workers in Louisiana over the next three years.

“I think that’s probably accurate considering all of the proposed projects actually going on in construction,” Lemoine said.

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and other groups have lobbied for improved vocational and technical programs, but education reform won’t come fast enough for the approaching demand for workers, Lemoine said.

“Our concern is that with an immediate need for skilled workers, these other projects will certainty impact our business because we are all dipping into the same labor pool.”

With the low price of natural gas in America, businesses like Sasol want to move in. American companies in the manufacturing and oil and gas industries are expanding, too, at a rapid pace. Thus the need to keep building, Lemoine said.

Information from: The Advertiser,