Solving the Construction Worker Shortage Puzzle

Posted on October 1, 2019

By Shawn Moura

In recent years, builders have faced a shortage of workers that has only grown more acute amid increasing demand for construction and record-low unemployment. Many of the 2.2 million construction workers who lost their jobs during the last recession either retired or found employment in other industries. At the same time, fewer new workers are taking their place because millennials are less attracted to careers in construction than past generations. Workers under the age of 25 make up only 9.0% of the construction workforce in the United States versus 12.3% of the nation’s overall workforce, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A report published by the NAIOP Research Foundation in July , “Addressing the Workforce Skills Gap in Construction and CRE-related Trades,” examines how employers are partnering with local communities in innovative training and recruitment programs to boost the supply of skilled construction workers in both urban and rural areas.

While the workforce shortage is pushing construction costs higher in large metropolitan areas, the problem is not unique to large cities. Interviews with developers, educators, and workforce development experts reveal that like their urban counterparts, construction firms in rural areas and small cities struggle to recruit younger workers who are rarely exposed to vocational education in high school. However, these firms face the added challenge of losing potential workers who move to larger cities for better employment opportunities and urban amenities.

Click here to read more.
Share this post: