Report predicts staggering shortage of U.S. workers (Canada Construct Connect)

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ASHINGTON, D.C. — The Home Builders Institute (HBI) Fall 2021 Construction Labor Market Report is sounding the alarm on the shortage of skilled construction labour in the U.S.

The report concluded a lack of skilled construction labour is a key limiting factor for improving housing inventory and affordability. According to the report, the required number of construction workers to keep up with demand is approximately 740,000 new workers per year for the next three years.

HBI’s Fall 2021 Construction Labor Market Report’s estimation of the current need for additional workers is based on a new analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by the National Association of Home Builders. The estimate 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 construction industry needs more than 61,000 new hires every month if we are to keep up with both industry growth and the loss of workers either through retirement or simply leaving the sector for good,” said HBI president and CEO Ed Brady in a statement. “From 2022 through 2024, this total represents a need for an additional 2.2 million new hires for construction. That’s a staggering number.”

The report noted data shows home sales are outpacing home construction, resulting in growing backlog and supply-chain bottlenecks. 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.

“The U.S. is experiencing a historically low supply of homes for sale, especially at the lower price points that newly formed households tend to need,” Brady said. “For residential construction to expand and housing affordability to increase, more skilled building trade workers must be recruited and trained for the home building sector.”

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