Two reports released in the summer of 2018 highlight the intensity of the nation's labor crunch in residential construction.
One report from Tradesmen International, citing Bureau of Labor Statistics and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) data, finds that the industry currently has 143,000 vacant positions, and that 69 percent of NAHB members' projects were delayed due to labor shortages. A survey from the Associated General Contractors of America finds that additionally, “craft worker shortages are severe in all four regions of the country," with 81 percent of contractors in the West and South reporting “a hard time filling hourly craft positions,” 80 percent rate in the Midwest and 77 percent in the Northeast, The Post and Courier reports.
Contracting trade groups cite schools as a culprit, noting that many skilled workers dropped out of the construction industry when the late 2000s recession curtailed home building and related jobs. According to Tradesmen International, “a whole generation of younger workers are no longer even considering construction as a viable career option. Many high schools have phased out shop classes, and parents increasingly have steered graduates to four-year colleges and white-collar careers.”