Is there a labor shortage?

For anyone in our industry, one inescapable topic these days is the question of a labor shortage. The graph below illustrates that employment in construction has not even returned to pre-Recession levels. This would seem to indicate that there cannot be a labor shortage because just 8 years ago there were about 25,000 more New Englanders employed in our industry.


However, shortage proponents would cite the retirement of baby boomers and loss of workers during the downturn as limits to the labor supply. Our guess is that the labor market is still recovering from the Recession and only appears to be limited because of the dramatic surge in the amount of construction underway in our region. The graph below shows that construction contracts are well above the previous high-water mark in 2008 while the workforce is taking longer to recover.


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