COLUMBIA - The masonry industry is currently the fourth fastest-growing industry in the country right now, behind several industries related to healthcare.
Despite this positive trend nationwide, in local economies such as Columbia the industry is hindered by the lack of overall contracts and the approaching winter season. But thanks to the delayed winter, some local masonry businesses have managed to find a few more contracts than usual.
Dean Hathman, owner of Lake of the Woods Masonry, said that the local economy has slowed down his contracting business even though his masonry shop sales are steady.
"If the university can't get the money from the state to build buildings, they can't go out and build new buildings or put additions onto their buildings. Same way with the schools, if the school can't get their bond issues passed, they can't affodd to build a school or put additions on", Hathman said.
But Scott Cason, owner of Cason the Mason, specializes in brick repair and says that the weather so far has ensured that his business survives.
"For this year, we haven't done too bad. It was slow through the middle of the summertime but once it started... the weather changed just a little bit out of that heat, business started picking up pretty good", Cason said.
National masonry trends seem to tell a different story from local ones. According to America's Career InfoNet, the employment for masonry contracts is expected to rise 221,000 workers in 2020, a 68% increase from 131,900 workers in 2010. And PRWeb reports that the industry's profit, as measured by earnings before interest and taxes, is projected to grow from 2.8% of industry revenue in 2012 to 4.5% in 2017.
But both Hathman and Cason are expecting increased business and contracts next year, and are considering hiring more employees depending on their success.