Local construction industry struggling with higher demand and greying labor pool

Here's another great article we were featured in that covers what's happening with employment in the construction industry. We solve this problem by providing our own in-house training and apprenticeship to qualified, but inexperienced new hires. 

Check it out on KDMiner.com https://kdminer.com/news/2017/may/30/local-construction-industry-struggling-higher-dema/ or below:

Sara Gott was on her hands and knees grouting tile at a new home under construction on Meadowbrook Lane, not an easy job, but a steady one.

“It beats sitting behind a desk,” Gott said Friday, just a few weeks into her latest career.

The National Association of Home Builders would like to find more like her. The association estimates that some 200,000 home construction jobs are waiting to be filled in the United States, an 81 percent increase over the past two years.

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The industry lost an estimated 837,800 jobs when the housing market crashed between 2004 and 2014, and homebuilders are having a hard time replacing those jobs, even as the economy picks up.

Across the nation, there are 17 percent fewer people working in construction than when the market was at its peak, according to data from the Associated General Contractors of America.

“It’s hard,” said Doug Angle, president of Angle Homes in Kingman. “My framer (Randy Ahrns), he keeps telling me he needs more crews. He hired 15 people this month and only one is left. They don’t want to work. They’ve got drug problems. They get their first paycheck and leave.”

The construction industry is struggling with higher demand and a greying labor pool. In 1985, the average age of construction workers was 36 years old. By 2008, it was 40.4 years old, and it continues to rise.

Due to physical limitations and injuries, construction workers tend to stop working at an earlier age than workers in other sectors, which has further reduced the number of experienced workers.

There are also a significant number of “baby boomers” in the industry, which means the number of experienced workers will only continue to dwindle over the next 10 years as they reach retirement age.

Angle said his framer has four crews that are getting older and slower.

“Young guys coming up don’t want to work. Maybe it’s the way they’re raised. Maybe we don’t have training programs around here in the high schools,” the homebuilder said.

His subcontractors are willing to hire and train electricians and plumbers if they want to work. “It’s just hard to find people that want to work,” Angle said.

Adam Curry, who owns the tile and laminate flooring company doing the work on Meadowbrook, said he’s also having a hard time recruiting and retaining employees, and he’s willing to train them.

With the physical demands of the trades, construction workers should be healthier than most people. However, that’s not always the case.

And the growing number of overweight construction workers –many being smokers – puts them at higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, lung cancer and other health problems.

Another issue plaguing the construction industry is the dangers faced by workers. At least 10 percent of workers leave the industry because of injury or illness.

They can develop musculoskeletal disorders such as shoulder or lower back problems from constant handling of materials, working in awkward postures and highly physical demands.

Greg Norman, founder of BathMasters in Florida, sees first hand how the labor shortage is plaguing the construction industry.

Considering the aging of the workforce, as well as potential for illness and injury, it’s clear that the lack of experienced professionals in construction trades is reaching critical levels, he said.

“The construction industry took a really hard blow during the last recession, and now that the need is there, experienced construction workers are harder than ever to find,” Norman noted. “Many workers left the construction field altogether, and now we’re feeling the impact, as there aren’t as many seasoned professionals remaining to mentor the new generation.”

Homebuilder Angle knows of two brothers who went back to school to become nurses after their painting business collapsed with the housing market.

As the industry’s demand continues to rise, it is estimated that real output in the construction sector will increase by about 2.8 percent annually, reaching slightly below $1.4 billion by 2024, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Projections also suggest that the construction industry will have the largest industry increase for employment by adding approximately 790,400 jobs by 2024.