Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Construction Worker Shortage: Is it True?

The Associated General Contractors of America released a survey several months ago that said there’s trouble in the forecast. It seems that as many as 83% of construction companies are underemployed, and finding new team members qualified for the job is getting more and more difficult. But is this actual information? Some say differently.

construction workersConstruction workers are out there, says economic data, but they’re simply waiting for things to pick up once again. When the housing crisis occurred in 2006 – 2007, many laid-off workers went into other industries. Some retired, and others simply remained unemployed. It is perceived that it is these factors that are contributing to the proposed shortage of available construction workers. Furthermore, it is not anticipated that a shortage in construction workers will affect any business out there.

Sure, there could be a few open spaces thanks to those who chose not to come back to the same industry. However, that affects just one sector of construction, i.e. plumbing, a roofer, etc. rather than the industry as a whole. Even still, the numbers of projected open positions overall is relatively low. The construction worker unemployment rate has increased only by 1.7% since 2006, standing today at 7.8%. Only with an exceedingly number of additional job openings would there be a shortage of workers.

In addition, there would be additional signs that there was a shortage in workers. For example, the wage rate would be indicative of a shortage. Yet, it remains steady, with the average hourly wages steady even since 2006. Some sectors of the construction industry have even increased wages considerably since this time. For example, drywall contractors earned an average hourly wage of $22 in 2006, compared to an average hourly wage of $28 in 2015.

Some states are seeing a slight decline in the number of construction workers, but only four states. Those states include Oklahoma, North Carolina, Louisiana and Iowa. Even in these states those rates are not high enough to cause any substantial worry.

So, why are there reports that there is a shortage of construction workers if this is really not a problem? Perhaps it is those isolated shortages in some sectors of construction that have caused the uproar. Perhaps construction workers are working through employment agencies or as temporary workers, accumulating for those higher than average numbers. These factors do not signal a problem that the world should be concerned about however, at least not yet.