U.S. desperately needs more construction workers, but former construction workers aren’t too eager to return to an industry that they say is untrustworthy, according to an article by David Randall for Reuters.
After the housing crisis pulled 30% of construction workers out of the industry, the National Association of Homebuilders estimates that there are about 200,000 unfilled jobs in the industry today, according to the article.
The construction inventory shows little signs of improvement. In the August jobs report, the U.S. Census Bureau showed there was very little change in the construction industry.
From the article:
The ratio of construction job openings to hiring, as measured by the Department of Labor, is at its highest level since 2007.
"The labor shortage is getting worse as demand is getting stronger," said John Courson, chief executive of the Home Builders Institute, a national nonprofit that trains workers in the construction field.
The impact is two-fold. Without enough workers, residential construction is trailing demand for homes, dampening the overall economy.
The good news is that housing starts increased in July both monthly and annually, therefore homebuyers could soon receive much-needed relief from the competitive housing market and increasing home prices, according to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In fact, homebuilder confidence increased in August as new construction and new home sales increase, according to the Housing Market Index by the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo.
However, all of this will be for nothing if the industry can’t find construction workers to build the homes.
In hot residential markets, it is not uncommon to see construction companies looking for extensions as they struggle to meet their deadlines with the limited number of construction workers, the Reuters article states.
During the second quarter of 2016, new home starts in Dallas increased, but not where its most needed, according a report from Metrostudy, a provider of primary and secondary market information to the housing and related industries.
Because of the rising competitiveness in the construction market, the cost to build a home is going up, pushing builders to look at more expensive markets, rather than starter homes.
Of course, this is in turn increasing median home prices, which show no letup in their upward trend.
Home prices increased in July year-over-year and month-over-month, according to the Home Price Index and HPI Forecast released by CoreLogic, a property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider.
Since the housing crisis, illegal immigration slowed to a halt, and at time, more left the country than came in. Now that the housing crisis is over, however, the immigrants still haven’t come back, possibly explaining the loss in construction workers. For more on that story, click here.