Firms are Ready to Hire.
In October 2014, the Associated General Contractors of America conducted a survey of nearly 900 construction firms across 48 states and the District of Columbia to discuss construction industry hiring in 2015. (To view the survey results and report, “Ready to Hire Again: The Construction Hiring and Business Outlook.” The survey reported that hiring plans are on the rise. Nearly 80% of the firms surveyed expect to hire more employees, which is an 25% increase from 2014. (See Jeanie J. Clapp, Ready to Hire Again AGC Members Forecast a Bright 2015, Constructor Magazine, (March/April 2015). In fact, as of March 2015, construction employment totaled 6,344,000 and the unemployment rate fell to 9.5%. But companies will face challenges finding enough qualified people to hire.
Labor Shortages Loom.
While hiring is on the rise, 87% of the AGC firms who are hiring, report difficulties filling positions, with the greatest hiring challenges for roofers, carpenters and operators. This figure is up more than 10% from 2014. Simply put, there are not enough skilled workers to go around. A study by the Construction Users Roundtable (CURT) estimates that there is currently a shortage of two million skilled construction workers. Based on the circumstances that created the market shortage, closing the gap will not happen quickly.
Labor Market Gap Widens.
- The construction industry lost 2.3 million jobs during 2007-2009 and has only recouped less than half a million. By 2016 it is predicted that the construction will require 6.7 million workers, 50% more workers than are currently available today.