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Shortage of Construction Workers to Spread Across America

The shortage of construction workers we've been warning about on Construction Citizen is beginning to happen across the nation and the national media is starting to take notice.

USA Today reports:
“The crunch is affecting a handful of states, including Texas, Arizona, Iowa and Florida.  But it's expected to worsen and spread across the USA over the next few years, building officials say.  The shortages are already prompting builders to raid each other's job sites for workers.”

The newspaper story says some are shocked by this, but regular readers of our blog won't be.

Construction Citizen blogger Stan Marek recently asked the question “Where have all the young men gone?” and Greater Houston Builders Association CEO Toy Wood told me in an exclusive interview that home builders are being forced to delay some projects in and around the Houston area because of a lack of skilled workers.

The USA Today story goes on to say:

“Twenty-nine percent of home builders surveyed by the National Association of Home Builders in June reported some shortage of framing workers and 6% said there was a serious deficit – only slightly less than in 2006 at the height of the home construction frenzy.  By 2017, there could be a shortage of 2 million commercial construction workers, according to the Construction Users Roundtable, a trade group.

“The shortfalls are slowing the recovery in some states hit hardest by the housing crash.  In Florida, permits to build single-family homes this year are up 25% from last year but remain less than a quarter of the 2005 peak.  In Tampa, crews that install drywall in new homes are especially scarce after many headed north when projects and wages plummeted in the recession.”

There are many factors contributing to this shortage of workers.  Among them: The fact that some businesses just don't get what it's going to take to make blue collar work a noble career and very little promotion of the skilled trades with the very young.  Until these things are addressed in a meaningful way, we'll continue to see these stories about worker shortages as the economy improves and the demand for new construction rises.


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