The number of young workers in the construction industry has declined by roughly 30 percent in the last decade, according to a report issued by the industry site BuildZoom.com.
That 30 percent drop works out to 1.5 million workers, a drop that is challenging both policy makers and construction industry officials across the country.
Says BuildZoom: “Although construction employment rates have recovered to pre-bust levels circa 2005, the size of the construction workforce has diminished since then, both nationally and in most states.”
The reasons for the decline appear to be many: BuildZoom notes that there are less immigrant workers available for employment in the industry today.
But the downward trend may also be due to something more systemic: many high schools during the Great Recession discontinued their vocational training programs in favor of science, technology, engineering and mathematics instruction.
That trend, according to reporter Laura Kusisto in the Wall Street Journal, may be fueled by “parents’ desire for their children to get a college degree, the allure of technology jobs, and the high cost of living in areas where jobs are most plentiful.”
The San Francisco-based BuildZoom additionally notes that the average length of time to fill a construction job opening is more than 35 days in many of the East Coast states, but less than two weeks in the South.
Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico construction jobs postings are usually filled on an average of 20 days or so.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 10.3 million people working in the construction industry nationally heading into 2017, up from 9.0 million in 2009.
By Garry Boulard
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