The construction industry is experiencing rapid growth. Unemployment numbers are down, employment rates keep growing, and more new jobs emerge all the time. But with this fast growth, there is a shortage of workers to make it all happen.
Most of this is good news for people who already work in construction. When the market is thriving, there’s plenty of work to be had. But for construction companies, the news is bittersweet. Opportunity abounds, but they still need to entice more men and women in order to stay competitive.
Employment Rates Rise Dramatically
While unemployment rates among construction workers have fallen lower than at any time since 2001, employment rates keeps going up. The two aren’t necessarily different sides of the same coin either. At least not strictly.
In June, employment in the construction industry totaled 6,380,000, according to Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). As for unemployment, 522,000 construction workers reported being out of work, a number that’s lower than at any time since 2001.
New Job Opportunities Arise
Unemployment rates only account for people who had worked in construction at one time but are currently out of work. Conversely, employment rates count everyone employed in the industry, even people who are new to the field. So when employment rates go up, unemployment rates don’t necessarily go down in a corresponding manner.
The good news is that both trends, higher employment and lower unemployment, reveal new job opportunities in construction. But there’s another issue. AGC says that the growth rate is so high, it’s difficult for construction companies to supply the need not just for workers, but those with experience.
More New Workers are Needed
New residential and commercial projects are cropping up, and the industry needs to meet the demand. But many young people don’t even think about construction as a career choice. There’s a particular need for workers in the nonresidential arena. Some projects may sit in limbo while the industry plays catch up, or tries to.
Students may find encouragement for entering a lot of fields, but the once-thriving vocational training programs are falling by the wayside. Construction covers numerous potential jobs, many of which pay very well. The best solution to this conundrum, according to AGC CEO, Stephen E. Sandherr, is to rebuild America’s vocational programs to what they once were.
When construction grows, that’s a byproduct of the economy growing in general. Real estate is improving again, as is the need for more nonresidential buildings for businesses.
Construction employment is gaining ground, and unemployment statistics get lower and lower. But without enough workers to fulfill the need, growth can’t happen as quickly as it otherwise would. As Standherr recommends, it may be time to reinvest in the future by supporting the vocational programs that turn out the next generation of skilled construction workers.
Part of staying on top of the industry is keeping continuing education credits current. It’s necessary for licensing, and for some association memberships. At PDH Construction, we make CE credits hassle-free so that you can get back to more important things. Click here to sign up.