Survey Spotlights Nationwide Construction Labor Shortage

Nearly three-fourths of construction firms nationwide say they're having trouble finding qualified craft workers, and labor shortages could get worse.

An industry-wide survey by the Associated General Contractors of America indicates that 74 percent of responding commercial construction firms find problems in hiring carpenters, equipment operators and laborers.

The Associated General Contractors of America in the short-term wants immigration and education reforms to help alleviate the shortage, according to the group's Brian Turmail. 

And in the long-term:  

"We need to rebuild what was once a pretty robust vocation education program in this country. We just don't have that kind of domestic skills-based construction pipeline that we once had." 

Turmail says companies have been taking steps to prepare future construction workers, and keep the ones they have.

"Many of them have already had to increase what they pay to construction workers to keep them on the job. And the vast majority of our members firms feel like that there just aren't enough construction workers out there."  

Some companies are mentoring future craft workers, taking part in career fairs and supporting high school-level construction skill academies. 

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...