Project Management Institute

Raise the Roof

Labor Shortages Threaten to Slow Housing Projects Across the United States

A serious labor shortage is threatening to slow housing projects across the United States. In May, builders reported shortages in 12 of 16 labor categories, with carpenters, framing crews, bricklayers and concrete workers in the shortest supply, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Source: National Association of Home Builders

For projects such as student housing, where project deadlines must hold firm to meet the influx of new residents each academic year, the labor shortage is driving “significant pricing variability,” Todd Benson, managing director of development and asset management, PEBB Capital Student Living, told Multi-Housing News. “We are obsessively focused on our schedule and critical path, [and] we diligently vet and select subcontractors to ensure that they have capacity to handle our projects and can make up time if we fall behind.”

That meticulous vetting may be needed for years to come as analysts warn the labor crunch won't lift soon. In part, that's because younger workers aren't flocking to construction. Nationally, the number of young construction workers dropped nearly 30 percent from 2005 to 2016, according to BuildZoom. And even as the housing market recovered, the overall number of construction workers has continued to fall. The loss of young workers “is a scar from which the construction industry has yet to recover,” Trulia Chief Economist Issi Romem told The Wall Street Journal.

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI.



Related Content

  • PM Network

    Trunk Show

    By Roberts, Caroline For the past five decades, commercial activity has slowly devastated the forests of Surin, a province of northeast Thailand. And for the native Kui people who relied on the once-lush woodlands,…

  • PM Network

    Straight and Narrow

    PM Network queries the project management community on correcting bad habits on the team.

  • PM Network

    Value of Wellness

    Even for those who never caught the coronavirus, the global pandemic has taken a toll. That toll has shined a light on the ballooning size of the mental health market—and possible portfolio…

  • PM Network

    Zimbabwe Leans Forward

    Zimbabwe faced more than its share of challenges even prior to the global pandemic. Its currency had collapsed and inflation had surged to more than 700 percent. The country's efforts to curb damage…

  • PM Network

    Past Perfect

    Demolition was a no-brainer, given the serious structural issues that plagued the brick building in the Eastern Market area of Detroit, Michigan, USA. What wasn't clear was how to build a bigger,…