Builders Report Growing Labor Shortage Concerns

As NAHB economist Paul Emrath notes in a recent Eye on Housing post, shortages of labor and contractors have become more widespread during the past year. In June, NAHB surveyed single-family builders on the availability of labor and subcontractors for various trades, any change in the cost of labor and subcontractors, and the impact of labor shortages on their business.

While labor shortages were already quite widespread in mid-2014, Emrath revealed that “for every trade covered in the survey, shortages were more widespread in 2015 than in 2014.” The survey also showed that the shortages are most acute for basic skills like carpentry, which are needed during the construction of any home.

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Yet, builders may be even more concerned about the availability of subcontractors since three-quarters of the construction work required to build a single-family home is typically done by subcontractors. According to Emrath, “The last time builder-reported labor shortages were as widespread as now was just before 2001—during a prolonged period of strong GDP growth with overall unemployment as low as 4%.”

It’s important to note that labor shortages are not felt equally across the country. In fact, some builders reported that they are not experiencing any shortages in their markets.

Read more about the increasing shortages in For Builders, Labor/Subcontractor Shortage Intensifies.

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