Report States Largest Shortage of Labor and Subcontractors in 15 Years


A new survey released by the NAHB reports the escalating shortages of labor and subcontractors, as according to single-family home builders. While 69% of builders reported a shortage of contractors willing or able to do rough carpentry, 50% of builders reported a shortage of framing crews and finished carpenters, and 40% reported a shortage of masons and electricians. Additionally, the shortages of subcontractors are augmenting, as 74% of builders reported a shortage of subcontractors of some type. Specifically, 58% reported a shortage of rough carpenters (53%, finished carpenters), 52% reported a shortage of framing crews, 41% reported a shortage of masons, and 42% reported a shortage of painters.

But what is causing all of these shortages? In fact, the last time labor shortages were this low was back in 2001. RIS Media provides a few explanations, however. One of which is that during the 2008 economy crash, construction workers were laid off and went to start their own trade contracting businesses. But now that the economy is doing better, contractors are re-establishing old relationships and beginning to work for larger firms. While this improves the availabilty of workers hired directly by builders, it decreases the availability of contractors.

Because of this scarcity, builders are having to pay higher wages and subcontractor bids, which cause them to raise home prices, as well as the difficulty to complete projects on time. So while one might not believe this dearth might affect them, it does so to those looking to buy or build new homes.

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