AgentMarkets & Economy

Construction is still rising, but where are the workers?

Efforts to solve the problem are being made in education and automation
  • Although construction is on the rise, there is a noticeable shortage of workers across the board. Is the answer in grass roots efforts to recruit a new work force through education or in automating the process?

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Construction outlays rose in September, up 0.3 percent led by government spending. Overall construction spending this year has been on an uptick running at a seasonally adjusted annual $1.22 billion rate according to the Commerce Department. Despite facing serious headwinds, construction is up 9.5 percent for the year, mostly in single-family housing. The demand for new construction comes as prices for lumber and materials have continued to rise. The Commerce Department recently announced that it is setting final tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber of 20.8 percent for most Canadian producers. However, the biggest concern for the construction industry continues to be the question of finding enough workers. Construction workers departed the industry in the wake of the Great Recession, and many did not return when the housing market rebounded. In the wake of housing destruction caused by hurricanes and wildfires, the competition for workers is even stronger. Nearly every state...