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Construction Labor Shortages Experienced Across The Country (Part 1)

construction labor shortages

 

Construction Labor Shortages

With unemployment being the topic on every politician's tongue, it can be difficult to understand how labor shortages could be a problem. And yet they are. Nearly every industry struggles with them. Sometimes there are not enough individuals with a specific expertise. Other times, there are too few people who are willing to take low-paying jobs.

Whatever the reason, they exist—especially in the construction industry. More specifically, the construction industry in Texas is suffering a great deal from this issue. 

What's Happening in Texas?

All across the country, construction sites are struggling to find workers. The National Association of Home Builders has found that the construction industry is short of labor by nearly a million workers. Over half of the developers across the nation have reported a struggle to fill their construction sites.

And Texas is not immune to this shortage. In Dallas alone, nearly 20,000 construction workers are still needed. Austin, Houston, and many other growing areas of Texas are facing similar frustrations. If this problem is not solved, construction, which is already moving along at a sluggish pace as it recovers from last decade's recession, will slow even further. 

Cause Of The Construction Labor Shortage

There are a handful of reasons for this shortage. One includes the 2007/2008 economic recession that hit America, and beyond, very hard. Prior to the recession millions of residential and commercial buildings were being built. The industry was booming, and it had been for decades. After the recession hit, however, this number slowed to the hundreds of thousands.

When the demand for construction sunk, the jobs disappeared and so did the construction laborers. And even though demand for construction has risen significantly in the last ten years, the workers have not come back. The individuals who used to make up the construction workforce pursued higher education and found professions that were less cyclical in nature. It is simply too unstable for many job seekers to trust again. 

Immigration Policies

A second cause of the shortage is the change in immigration policies. Texas is by far the hardest hit state from these alterations. Nearly half of the construction jobs in the state are filled by immigrants—almost twice as many as any other state in the country.

Due to the hard lines being drawn by the government, many illegal immigrants, who were happy to take the lower paying construction jobs, are fleeing for safety. And adding to the strict new rhetoric and regulations is the fact that Mexico's economy, where many immigrant workers in Texas come from, recovered faster from the recession than the United States.

So whereas during the five years before the recession, more than half a million international immigrants came to Texas. Since the recession, more Mexicans have left the United States than come to the country. 

Seasoned Laborers Retiring

A third reason for the construction labor shortage is not unique to Texas. Many laborers are getting older and retiring. This is especially true with those who possess special skills like electrical, masonry, and plumbing. In fact, the average age of this group is nearly sixty.

This average should further worry the construction industry because it means over the coming years, the next group will be reaching retirement age as well. And these skilled laborers are not being replaced by younger workers.

A big reason why the jobs of retired workers are not being filled by the younger workforce is that they have minimal interest in pursuing construction. Some young Americans do not like the low salaries and limited benefits that come along with some types of construction work.

In fact, when it comes to the higher paying jobs, even the construction jobs that earn more than six figures, the younger generation is simply not interested in the type of work and how much labor it entails. 

The Construction Industry and Resource Erectors

Resource Erectors is dedicated to solving the labor shortages that contractors across the country are currently facing. We connect companies with the professionals that will empower their business to succeed, from specialists in the various niches of the construction industry to experienced management-level executives.

Allow us to put our 20 years of recruiting experience to work for you in growing your enterprise. Contact us today for a scheduled consultation. 

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About Author

Dan Duszynski
Dan Duszynski

CEO and President of Resource Erectors, Inc.. A search and recruitment firm serving the mining and mineral processing, engineering, and civil construction industries of North America.

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