Social Media

Connect with us!
Connect with PM on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

Latest News / Vendor & Supplier News

Growing labor shortages impede housing and economic recovery

Meanwhile, a lack of buildable lots and increased costs for materials and labor are also contributing to the problem.

March 27, 2013
NAHB latest news inbody

Growing labor shortages in all facets of the residential construction sector are impeding the housing and economic recovery, according to a new survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

“The survey of our members shows that since June of 2012, residential construction firms are reporting an increasing number of shortages in all aspects of the industry — from carpenters, excavators, framers, roofers and plumbers, to bricklayers, HVAC, building maintenance managers and weatherization workers. The same holds true for subcontractors,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

The survey also found that more than half of the builders reported that labor shortages over the past six months have caused them to pay higher wages or subcontractor bids to secure projects, and consequently, to raise home prices. Moreover, 46% of the builders surveyed experienced delays in completing projects on time, 15% had to turn down some projects and 9% lost or cancelled sales as a result of recent labor shortages.

Part of the reason for the labor shortages can be attributed to the fact that many skilled residential construction workers were forced to seek employment elsewhere during the recession and are no longer currently available.

“What used to be high-paying, skilled jobs vanished as builders across the nation went out of business or were forced to let workers go,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C.

The loss of tens of thousands of housing jobs mushroomed to more than 1.4 million during the peak of the downturn. During this period, many trades retrained construction workers and they are not returning to the residential construction sector.

Meanwhile, a lack of buildable lots and increased costs for materials and labor are also contributing to the problem, as the infrastructure that supports home building moves to re-establish itself following the worst housing downturn since the Great Depression, Crowe said.

Getting back on track

To help meet the growing demand for skilled labor within the housing sector, the Home Builders Institute (HBI), in partnership with NAHB, provides career training and job placement in the building industry. HBI offers an array of portable pre-apprenticeship training programs in a variety of skilled trades that can be customized to meet the workforce needs of communities across the nation. HBI regularly places approximately 80% of its student graduates in jobs in the building sector.

“We are ramping up our efforts to train diverse populations and place them in jobs to meet the growing demand of the building sector,” said HBI President and CEO John Courson.

“Even in a period of relatively high unemployment, we still need to complement our job training efforts by bringing in foreign workers to meet the needs of home builders and home buyers,” added Judson.

The worker shortages are not only slowing the housing recovery, but also hurting job and economic growth.

As the economy mends, pent-up demand for housing will continue to grow, as roughly 2 million household formations were delayed as a result of the Great Recession. In normal economic times, demand for new homes should be about 1.7 million annually.

NAHB is anticipating total housing starts of 970,000 this year and 1.18 million in 2014 as the market continues its gradual rebound.

“We need to look holistically at the home building infrastructure to meet growing and future demand,” said Judson. “To avoid a run-up in prices in hot markets due to labor issues, we need to complement our current training programs with a market-based visa system that would allow more immigrants to legally enter the construction workforce each year when there is a dearth of workers to fill the jobs that are needed.”


HELPFUL LINKS:

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Plumbing & Mechanical. 

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

BNP Media's Plumbing Group Visits Grundfos North American Headquarters

BNP Media’s Plumbing Group, comprised of the Plumbing & Mechanical, Supply House Times, PM Engineer (pme) and Reeves Journal brands, recently visited Grundfos’ new North American headquarters building in the western Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, Ill.

THE MAGAZINE

Plumbing and Mechanical

March 2014

2014 March

In the March issue of Plumbing & Mechanical, read about the 'living in place' movement and learn how to make your space stylish and comfortable. PM catches up with MCAA president Chuck Fell and spoke with him about his goals for the year. Also in this issue, see the top products of 2013, see who is the March Truck of the Month, and read the latest Tool Tips.
Table Of Contents Subscribe

Trade Associations

Are trade association memberships and participation beneficial to your company?
View Results Poll Archive

The Plumbing and Mechanical Store

plumbing-hvac.gif
2014 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Truck of the Month

Truck of the month

Are you proud of how your service truck looks? Do the graphics give people whiplash as they drive by? Have your calls increased because people remember your truck — and your company name? If so, we’d like to see it, too! Click here to find out how your service truck could be chosen as PM's Truck of the Month.

 

STAY CONNECTED

Connect to PM on Facebook Connect to PM on Twitter  Watch PM on YouTube    Connect to PM on Linked In