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Construction Workforce on the Decline

Phil Hall
Aug 29, 2017
Total U.S. construction starts for 2019 will be $808 billion, according to a forecast published in Dodge Data & Analytics’ 2019 Dodge Construction Outlook

Seventy percent of construction firms are having difficulty filling hourly craft positions that represent the bulk of the construction workforce, according to a new survey released by Autodesk and the Associated General Contractors of America.
 
Of the more than 1,600 survey respondents, craft worker shortages are the most severe in the West, where 75 percent of contractors are having a hard time filling those positions, followed by the Midwest where 72 percent reported this level of labor shortage, 70 percent in the South and 63 percent in the Northeast. Tight labor market conditions are prompting firms to change the way they recruit, with most firms confirming that they are making a special effort to recruit and retain veterans (79 percent), women (70 percent) and African-Americans (64 percent). Twenty percent of the survey respondents said that they have improved employee benefits for craft workers and 24 percent report they are providing incentives and bonuses to attract workers.
 
“In the short-term, fewer firms will be able to bid on construction projects if they are concerned they will not have enough workers to meet demand,” said Stephen Sandherr, Chief Executive Officer of the Associated General Contractors. “Over the long-term, either construction firms will find a way to do more with fewer workers or public officials will take steps to encourage more people to pursue careers in construction.”

 
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