An ongoing lack of qualified construction labor appears to be reaching dire proportions as a new report indicates that 80 percent of construction firms say they are having a difficult time filling craft positions.
In the report, issued by the Washington-based Associated General Contractors of America, an equally large 73 percent of responding firms said they thought it would either continue to be hard to hire such workers, or become even harder, over the course of the next twelve months.
In a statement, Stephen Sandherr, chief executive officer of the AGC, said the ongoing workforce shortage issue remains “one of the most significant threats to the construction industry.”
An exhaustive survey includes the input of nearly 2,000 construction industry respondents and indicates that the shortage challenge is particularly pressing in the West and South, where 83 percent of contractors said they were having difficulties finding qualified help.
The percentage was only marginally smaller in the Midwest with 81 percent of contractors reporting shortages. In the Northeast, the number stood at 75 percent of respondents.
Despite the ongoing lack of available workers, contractors across the board indicated that they intended to pursue efforts in 2020 to expand their workforce.
In this category, 95 percent of Arizona respondents said they expected to hire more people next year, while 86 percent of Colorado respondents indicated the same. There were no available statistics for New Mexico.
Although the construction workers shortage in recent years has remained stubbornly persistent, the AGC has continued to press for a greater federal funding of workforce development, immigration reform, and wider and more varied apprenticeship opportunities to increase the industry’s workforce.
As part of his statement, Sandherr asserted that “labor shortages are a challenge that can be fixed, and this association will continue to do everything in its power to make sure that happens.”
By Garry Boulard
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