Tuesday
September 2, 2014

Labor Shortages Plague Homebuilding Industry

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Labor Shortages Plague Homebuilding Industry

Sales of new homes are up, but builders say they can’t find enough workers to build. 

Forty-six percent of builders who are part of the National Association of Home Builders report they’ve had projects delayed because they can’t find enough workers. Fifteen percent say they’ve had to turn down jobs and 9 percent say they’ve had to cancel sales because of labor shortages, an NAHB survey found.

Housing starts fell sharply in April, and experts predict that the labor shortages could cause the new-home sector to now take more than four years to return to early 2006 building levels. 

The lack of inventory will also likely lead to soaring home prices. Already, new-home prices have climbed by double-digit percentages in the first quarter.

Builders are getting competitive for workers and some may even try to poach workers off other job sites from rival builders and entice workers with higher pay, some builders report to CNNMoney. 

"There's a lot of employee pilferage going on," says Jan Maly, president of JM Maly, a construction company in the Houston. "It got so bad at the Exxon headquarters construction site [in The Woodlands, Texas], they had to put in rules not to go after other construction workers."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 6 million workers are in the construction trades, and the industry will likely grow by 25 percent or more by 2020. 

Source: “Homebuilders struggle to find workers,” CNNMoney (June 3, 2013)

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