Residential Labor Shortage Means Higher Home Prices and Slower Economic Recovery

April 15, 2013

Construction labor shortageA National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey showed that growing residential construction labor shortages are an impediment to the housing and economic recovery.

The survey results, released last month, show that since June 2012, residential construction companies across the nation report increasing shortages in labor in all industry areas, including carpenters, excavators, framers, roofers, plumbers, bricklayers, HVAC, building maintenance managers, subcontractors and weatherization workers.

The survey also showed that this labor shortage means higher home prices for more than half of the respondents, who have had to pay higher wages to secure projects. Additionally, 46 percent of the builders surveyed experienced delays in completing projects on time, 15 percent had to turn down work and 9 percent lost or cancelled sales as a result of recent labor shortages.

Why is there a labor shortage when unemployment nationally is still down? In addition to a lack of buildable lots and increased costs of materials, a major part of the reason, according to an NAHB statement, is the fact that many skilled residential construction workers were forced to seek employment outside of the industry during the recession and are not returning to construction work.

“What used to be high-paying, skilled jobs vanished as builders across the nation went out of business or were forced to let workers go,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C.

NAHB is working to combat this problem with career training and job placement in the building industry, with the Home Builders Institute, which offers an array of portable pre-apprenticeship training programs in a variety of skilled trades that can be customized to meet the workforce needs of communities across the nation.

Categories: Economy, Economy AOI

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