When the construction industry started to recover from the Great Recession of 2008, it failed to recognize an immediate issue that would swell into a huge problem. Skilled workers started leaving the construction industry in 2008 and started their own businesses or changed to careers in other fields. Welders, carpenters, crane operators, and other specialty workers started to disappear from the construction landscape, and the industry did not seem to be at all concerned.
Fast-forward to 2017 and the inability of the construction industry to replace those lost skilled workers is having a significant effect on business. Around 2012, residential construction demand was high and supply was low. The construction industry worked to meet the demand, but production fell behind without the necessary skilled workers. With demand outpacing supply, residential housing prices went up and demand suddenly fell. Today, the lack of skilled workers means that the construction industry is going to have a tough time bringing back the necessary balance to the supply and demand equation.
Construction Companies Are Turning Away Work
Without the right kind of employees in place, construction companies are finding it necessary to carefully consider the jobs they accept. Some jobs are getting turned down as companies do not want overwhelm their current staff, and they cannot find skilled workers to hire. Other companies are importing skilled workers from other states, but at a tremendous premium that is raising construction costs.
Lots Are Also Scarce
While there is still plenty of land to develop in the United States, construction companies are finding it hard to locate lots in areas where more housing is needed. Growing areas such as Nashville, TN and Las Vegas, NV are not keeping up with the need for properly zoned lots, and that is causing some residential construction that is badly needed to come to a halt.
The Looming Specter
For the entire construction industry that is already short on skilled labor, President Trump’s immigration wall project is a looming specter that could send the industry into a tailspin. The immigration wall would require tens of thousands of laborers pulled in from companies around the country, and a healthy percentage of that labor population will be skilled labor.
A construction industry that is already low on skilled labor would be set into chaos if it had to give up many of its skilled laborers for a wall project that is estimated to last four years or more. The industry is attempting to fill the void of skilled workers in the wake of the wall project, but replacing thousands of skilled laborers who left the industry in 2008 will take decades.
There is no shortcut to solving the skilled labor issue in the American construction industry. While unions and non-union training organizations such as trade schools and industrial colleges work to put more skilled workers into the fold, construction companies are having to refuse work just to avoid disaster. The construction industry also has an image problem that is keeping younger workers away, despite the fact that skilled construction workers make as much or more than people with college degrees.
If you want to stay up to date on the latest skilled labor shortage in the construction industry, then start a course with PDH Contractors. With PDH Contractors, you will have access to all of the latest industry trends, and you will also be able to access all of the training information you need to update or renew your contractor’s license.