@Visoot Uthairam| Dreamstime
Construction Worker Shortage at ‘Crisis Level’

Construction Worker Shortage at ‘Crisis Level’

Nov. 9, 2021
The construction industry will need an additional 2.2 million new hires over the next three years to meet the demand for housing.

The U.S. is going to need a lot of construction workers to keep up the housing industry – 740,000 workers per year over the next three years. That's according to a new report, released on Nov. 5, by the Home Builders Institute (HBI). 

The HBI’s Fall 2021 Construction Labor Market Report’s estimation is based on a new analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which is determined by approximating the required net growth in employment due to construction expansion plus the workers required to replace individuals who leave the sector permanently.

The report notes that more than 12 million new households have been formed since the beginning of 2012, while approximately only 10 million new homes for ownership and rent were built during the same time.

Translating that demand into the demand for workers, the report explains that every month the industry will have to hire 61,000 people. This figure takes into account workers who are either retiring or leaving the sector for other areas.

“From 2022 through 2024, this total represents a need for an additional 2.2 million new hires for construction. That’s a staggering number,” said HBI CEO Ed Brady, in a statement.

The report, based on research of NAHB’s Economics Group, provides an overview of the state of the nation’s construction labor market. Other key findings include:

  • The number of open construction sector jobs currently averages between 300,000 to 400,000 each month.
  • Half of payroll workers in construction earn more than $50,460 annually and the top 25% make at least $71,000. In comparison, the U.S. median wage is $49,150 while the top 25% make at least $67,410.
  • Construction employment currently totals 7.42 million. Residential construction represents 3.1 million of this total amount.
  • Self-employment in construction is currently 22% of the labor force, down from 26% in 2010.
  • The share of immigrants in construction trades is 30%.
  • Women make up a slightly growing share of the construction employment, up to 10.9% in 2020 from 10.3% in 2019.
  • The median age of construction workers is 41. However, due to aging trends, the share of construction workers aged 25 to 54 decreased from 72.2% in 2015 to 69.0% in 2019.

“The construction worker shortage has reached crisis level,” said Brady. “The situation will become more challenging in the coming year when other industries rebound and offer competitive wages and benefits to prospective employees.”

To help solve this issues Brady calls for the industry to build the next generation of skilled tradespeople in construction. He says a priority for the industry is to work with “work with parents, educators and students, as early as the middle school years, to demonstrate that young people can have the promise of great jobs and careers in the trades.”

The chief executive outlined six fundamental steps that home builders can take to increase the number of skilled construction trade workers in the U.S.:

  1. Reach out to secondary school students, and those who influence their decisions, to change their perception of careers in construction.
  2. Increase worker pay while balancing the need to keep homeownership affordable.
  3. Attract more women into careers in construction.
  4. Train and place more minority and lower-income youth and adults for job opportunities.
  5. Increase trade skills education for veterans and transitioning military.
  6. Work for bipartisan approaches to sensible immigration policies.
About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

DH Pace, national door and dock provider, reduces TRIR and claims with EHS solution

May 29, 2024
Find out how DH Pace moved from paper/email/excel to an EHS platform, changing their culture. They reduced TRIR from 4.8 to 1.46 and improved their ability to bid on and win contracts...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!