An instructor in residential construction at the

Bridgerland Area Vocational Center says he is telling students to leave Cache County after graduation if they're serious about building houses.Rudy Puzey, an instructor in advanced building construction, said that until the economy changes, Cache County isn't a good place to find a job in the building trades.

Puzey is the former president of the Northern Utah Homebuilders Association. He said a survey he conducted recently supports his conclusions that the economy and a lack of sophisticated management skills cause about 25 percent of local builders to go out of business each year.

Puzey said there are about 100 residential contractors in Cache County at any one time because those who leave the industry are replaced by newcomers.

"Some of these are only part time, such as teachers who build homes in the summer. A lot of other builders have skills but not enough work to stay in the business full time," he said.

Puzey said 39 percent of licensed contractors who responded to the survey said a lack of growth was the major factor influencing builders to leave the industry. Another factor, cited by 36 percent of the respondents, was the large number of contractors in business, which creates intense competition. Twenty-one percent said builders said they lack the management skills necessary to become successful, he said.

Other reasons cited by a smaller number of builders were long winters and unstable interest rates.

Puzey said the survey revealed that 42 percent of the builders under the age of 40 use computers in their business while only 26 percent over 40 use them.

"We are finding that like the farming industry, business management is becoming more and more important to the building business and may be the only means of survival if economic conditions continue," Puzey said.