We’ve been hearing for some time that there is a shortage of construction workers, but is there any truth to that? Answer: Oh yes!
There have been many memes in housing these past couple years, and one of the most persistent has been the shortage of construction workers. Because, the narrative goes, so many workers dropped out of the labor force or migrated to other industries during the downturn, builders are now facing a labor shortage as the market recovers.
Yet, the available data – at least on the surface – would seem to contradict that. As The Wall Street Journal recently reported, not only is construction unemployment still above its pre-recession levels, but compensation is also below its boom-era heights. If there was truly an industry-wide shortage in labor, basic economics dictates that unemployment would be down and compensation up…so what gives?
The Specific Nature of Labor Shortages in Construction
As is always the case in housing, the answer is a highly specific one. True, the entire construction sector may not be showing signs of a labor shortage, but special positions within construction are undoubtedly in need of workers, a fact that a recent NAHB survey plainly displayed.
So what jobs are builders most desperate to fill? Check out our graphic below to find out: