The number of construction companies who expect to hire workers in Louisiana this year is below the national average, but those who are hiring are going beyond the average, an industry survey shows.

The 2016 forecast of the Louisiana construction industry was released Wednesday by the Associated General Contractors of America, and is based on responses from companies participating in a survey.

The report noted that 22 companies that participated in the survey plan on hiring more workers than the national average.

“Louisiana is quite a special market,” Ken Simonson, chief economist for the AGC, said during a conference call with reporters. “Oil and gas drilling and supplying for offshore activity has been hurt very heavily by the downturn in prices.”

At the same time, Simonson said low oil and natural gas prices, coupled with the recently lifted ban on exporting crude oil, will stimulate construction activity in petroleum transportation and the petrochemical sectors.

“Clearly, the big downstream and midstream projects are going to continue to add workers,” he said.

Of the Louisiana construction companies that participated in the AGC survey, 39 percent said they plan to add workers this year. For the national AGC survey, 71 percent of the nearly 1,600 respondents said they expect to increase staffing in the new year.

But 23 percent of the Louisiana construction companies said they would increase their workforce by 26 percent to 50 percent. Nationally, 6 percent of companies planned increases of that size.

The participating companies were asked what construction sectors they expect will be the busiest in Louisiana during 2016. Sixty percent of the respondents said they expect to compete for more work in the power sector, while 50 percent said there will be more dollars for projects in the federal and manufacturing sectors.

Forty-six percent of Louisiana construction companies said it will continue to be hard to find qualified construction workers.

And of the biggest concerns facing the construction industry in the state, 73 percent said the main fear is increased competition for projects, while 64 percent said they are concerned about increasing federal regulations and 55 percent were worried about a lack of infrastructure investment.

Nationally, the biggest concerns are worker shortages, at 52 percent; worker quality, at 45 percent; and increased competition for projects, at 43 percent.

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.