A new survey released by the Associated General Contractors of America indicates that construction companies across the country are continuing to have a hard time hiring new craft workers.
According to a survey of more than 2,500 member companies and businesses, an overwhelming 80 percent said the hiring of craft workers remains a challenging issue.
“Labor shortages in the construction industry remain significant and widespread,” said Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist, adding that “the best way to encourage continued economic growth, make it easier to rebuild aging infrastructure, and place more young adults into high-paying careers, is to address construction workforce shortages.”
The shortage is being seen in all regions of the country, according to the AGC survey, with 81 percent of contractors in the South and West saying the hiring of qualified craft workers remains a challenge, followed by 80 percent in the Midwest.
The lowest percentage, marginally so, was seen in the response of contractors in the Northeast at 77 percent.
To make things more complicated for the industry, this particular labor shortage comes at a time of unprecedented construction project expansion with 281 out of 358 metro areas reporting increased activity between July of 2017 and last July.
As a result of the demand and tight market, roughly 62 percent of the firms surveyed said they were increasing base pay rates for craft workers, while 25 percent have improved employee benefits.
Another 25 percent said they are increasingly using bonuses and incentives to attract craft workers.
In the category of anticipating where the market for craft workers is headed, 48 percent of the respondents to the AGC survey said they thought it would be harder to hire such workers in the foreseeable future, while only 1 percent said it would be easier.
By Garry Boulard
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