Construction Industry's Solution to their Labor Force Problem Will Benefit Multifamily Unit Delivery

Some estimates say that by 2030, there will be a need for anywhere from 4-5 million new apartments. One factor that could significantly impact the delivery of so many new units is the lack of construction labor. As we've written in previous articles, some labor loss occurred during the economic crash, while other construction labor loss is due to more recent natural disasters. Yet, according to an article we found online in Property Management Insider, the construction industry has a plan.

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Using their numbers, it sure looks like the industry needs a plan to counter the bad news. According to the PMI data, the construction industry labor force took the biggest hit during the heart of the Great Recession: they report over 2.3 million construction jobs lost. Quoting stats from the Wall Street Journal, PMI states that by 2015 only 1.3 million of those jobs returned. Further, 2017 saw US construction companies hiring fewer workers than the previous year with existing workers putting in extra hours.

This month, the construction industry will tackle how to solve their manpower problem at what the article calls the world's largest residential construction show: the National Association of Home Builders International Builders Show. The industry has chosen to target younger workers and is looking to find ways to appeal to workers who might not have thought about going into a trade. One survey cited claims a scant three percent of 18-25 year-olds want to pursue a career in construction, making it perhaps a tough sell to a younger generation.

Yet the January convention has an 80,000 visitor-reach, making it ideal to raise awareness of – and interest in- the construction field. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) is putting its money where its mouth is and offering a $10,000 scholarship as well as a focused communications effort at attracting young workers. Both the NAHB and SGC Horizon are donating another $5,000 that will go toward the Skilled Labor Fund. The Skilled Labor Fund helps fill the void by creating opportunities for vocational training and all money raised this year for SGC's campaign at Design and Construction Week will go to the fund.  At this year's show, well-known “This Old House” master carpenter Norm Abram is also on deck to assist and mentor young people interested in learning a trade. He refers to the current labor levels as “crisis level” and is dedicated to showing young people the rewarding side of learning a trade in construction.

Hopefully with the monetary and mentoring incentives, more young workers will pursue careers in the construction trades. Multifamily and residential project delivery relies on the construction industry and a robust, highly-skilled labor force is essential to timely and cost-effective completion.

Elizabeth Wheeler