Home Builders Report Labor Shortage

A National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey showed that residential subcontractors feel there is a crisis in finding the skilled workers they want. With housing construction up 10% from 2015, NAHB survey respondents identified shortages of carpenters, bricklayers, framers, painters, electricians, and plumbers.

NAHB graph of labor supply and Subcontractor opinions when questioned about a shortage
NAHB graph of labor supply and Subcontractor opinions when questioned about a shortage

Some argue that the labor shortage is complicated.  A DOL survey showed that statistically there are 3 or 4 unemployed construction workers available for each opening. Economists have identified that although wages have been increasing steadily, they are not rising dramatically which would be typical of a severe labor shortage. Instead, critics say that employers are disqualifying unemployed workers due to hesitations with their experience level.

In addition, as the economy continues to recover from the recession, mega-construction projects could continue to leverage a tight labor market.  Stephen Lindauer, CEO of The Association of Union Constructors (TAUC), told Bloomberg that labor shortages are regional. ”Do we not have enough jobs, or don’t we have enough people,” Lindauer said. “The case is both.”

 

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