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Reports of Increasing Construction Labor Shortages

November 1, 2018

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently published an Employment Situation Summary which highlighted the growing shortage of construction employees.  A month prior, the Autodesk and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) issued findings of an industry-wide survey that found an overwhelming majority of construction firms are having a hard time finding qualified workers. These reports both support the fact that workforce shortages are on the increase and are affecting the industry’s economic growth.

In the BLS summary, the employment situation by industry in September 2018 shows that construction employment continued to trend up in September (+23,000) and has added 315,000 jobs over the past 12 months. Similarly, the Autodesk/AGC report found a widespread shortage of construction professionals with more than 80 percent of contractors surveyed unable to fill jobs. This report also noted that the “Nationwide Shortage of Skilled Workers Has Raised the Cost of Construction and Delayed Project Schedules, Putting Broader Economic Growth at Risk.”

As the construction labor shortage continues to grow in general, so does the competition for employees between public and private projects. One of the advantages of public projects is that employers can typically offer fringe benefits which can serve to attract and retain employees.