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AGC Survey: Texas Construction Firms Face Greater Challenge Than Rest of Nation in Finding Workforce

Texas Builders are having an even harder time than contractors in other states in finding enough skilled workers to keep up with demand, leading to higher construction costs.  

That's according to the latest survey from the Associated General Contractors of America, which found 80 percent of firms nationwide are having difficulty finding skilled workers. In Texas, the number is 84 percent. 

"Texas is extremely hot," said Ken Simonson, Chief Economist for AGC and a contributing writer for Construction Citizen. "And I don't mean the weather." 

"They are getting massive numbers of people moving into the state,” Simonson said. “They have huge pipeline and petrochemical projects going on and a lot of road building, in addition to various types of building construction. Pretty much any type of construction is hot in Texas."

Simonson said Texas' low unemployment rate can be a double-edged sword because it means the pool of available workers is smaller. So, a wide range of positions are going unfilled. Those include project managers, masons, ironworkers, carpenters, and plumbers. 

The survey also found: 

43 percent of their members said that construction projects are running behind schedule as a result of inadequate manpower. 

53 percent of members said they've had to build in higher prices as a result so that they can pay higher wages as they work to attract and retain craft professionals.

Because of these challenges, the association continues to push for legislative solutions in addition to working with local school districts and community colleges to promote skills training. 

"We think immigration should be allowed for people who have the skills to fill in where workers aren't available," Simonson said.