The situation is more dire in the Midwest and South than the Northeast, but everywhere across the nation, construction firms continue to have a hard time filling open job positions with skilled workers, according to a recent survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors. Of the 1,459 respondents, 69% reported they are having difficulty filling hourly craft positions. The shortages are the most severe in the Midwest, where 77% of contractors are having a hard time filling those positions. The region is followed by the South where 74% of contractors are having a hard time finding craft workers, 71% in the West, and 57% in the Northeast.
As a result of the difficulty in hiring, many firms are reportedly changing the way they operate by increasing base pay rates for field workers and offering improved employee benefits and bonuses in an effort to retain skilled workers who have been jumping ship to other industries.
According to AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr, labor shortages have a strong potential to undermine broader economic growth and he is calling on Congress to reform and increase funding for the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, enact immigration reform, and make it easier to set up charter schools and career academies that teach basic construction skills.