Colorado has low unemployment, a booming population growth rate, and a shortage of skilled construction labor. Basically, the state needs more homes to be built, but doesn’t have the workers to do so.
The Denver Post reports that Colorado is facing a labor shortage that will become worse over the years, expanding to 96,000 vacant construction jobs by 2025, a 38 percent increase from today.
Low unemployment, an aging workforce, and massive layoffs during the recession are among the reasons or the lack of labor.
Colorado has perhaps the highest housing demand in the country. The state is expected to increase to a population of 6.43 million by 2025 and 7 million by 2035, which means it will have to add around 17,000 new homes per year to keep up, a pace significantly higher than the 11,000 home starts last year.
To address the issue, Colorado-based construction companies and organizations are marketing toward students. They say that good jobs can be had in the construction sector without the need for an expensive college degree.
Pat Hamill, chief executive of Oakwood Homes, said he believes students do not choose construction because they were not exposed to the benefits. He says the notion that “everyone goes to college” is hurting students. They have options, he said. Go to college and graduate with $100,000 in debt, or go into industry and end up with a $100,000 salary.