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The Skilled Labor Shortage
If you have tried to get any work done on your house lately, you may have noticed that it is a hassle. It may take weeks just to get someone to come to your home to check out the job. This is likely related to the national labor shortage for skilled workers and tradespeople.
Why Is There a Skilled Trade Labor Shortage?
Over the years, the United States has seen a decline in people entering the trades and careers in construction. At the same time, demand has increased. This skilled labor shortage is a result of several different factors.
One issue is that many current skilled trade laborers are reaching retirement age. ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 1 in 5 construction workers are older than 55, and the average age of retirement is 61.1 It is clear that the construction labor shortage is exacerbated by age.
Another report found that 40% of people in the skilled trades (cement masons, concrete finishers, painters, roofers, electricians, first-line supervisors, and more) are over the age of 45. Also, less than 9% are between the ages of 19 and 24.2
Along with the aging of existing tradespeople, there is also less interest in skilled labor jobs from the younger generations. Over the years, there has been a growing emphasis on going to college and white-collar jobs. This stress on getting a four-year college degree is usually in opposition with the training for the skilled trades.
From 1961 to 2020, the number of full-time students enrolled in college in the United States increased from 2.4 million to 11.6 million.3 While there has been a large boost over the last several decades, trade schools have seen a bump in enrollment in more recent years. For example, enrollment in construction trade programs grew 19.3% from the spring of 2021 to the spring of 2022.4 While this is promising, there is still such a high demand for these jobs.
There are also many misconceptions about the trades that may be preventing people from choosing this career path. Some younger generations do not want to deal with the back-breaking labor often associated with these types of jobs. This includes the long hours, safety concerns, and lack of benefits. In reality, many of these tradespeople have access to benefits like paid vacation time, workers’ compensation, and 401k plans. There is also a stigma that skilled laborers are not as intelligent as those people who go to college.
Outlook of The Skilled Labor Shortage in 2024
Unfortunately, there will likely be a continued skilled trades shortage in 2024. Without drastic changes, the labor shortage in the construction industry will not be fixed overnight. One report suggests that the construction industry will need to bring in over 342,000 new workers on top of normal hiring to meet demand in 2024.1
Another report states that there will be an average of 73,500 openings for electricians, 79,500 openings for carpenters, and 42,600 openings for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters every year over the next ten years.3 As a result, skilled workers will continue to be in high demand in 2024.
Dealing with the Skilled Labor Shortage in 2024
The shortage of skilled labor workers has become problematic for many. One of the effects of the skilled labor shortage for homeowners is more trouble finding someone to come out and fix something in a timely manner. Even just getting a quote can be a hassle and take weeks.
Another problem is finding trusted and reliable workers in the shortage of skilled tradespeople. The best laborers will likely have the longest wait times. If you are looking for a faster turnaround time, the quality of the work could suffer.
For sellers looking to get their home on the market quickly or make home inspection repairs, this trade labor shortage can be especially problematic. Instead of waiting around, we may be able to help.
Curbio is a licensed home improvement contractor for pre-sale updates to help sellers prep their homes for the market. Our team of tradespeople are all licensed, vetted, and insured. We also provide fast quotes and are ready to start the job just one or two weeks after the contract is signed. You can follow the progress with our real-time project calendar. The best part is that you do not need to pay anything until closing.
Talk to your real estate agent about partnering with us or contact us today to find a partner agent in your area.
- ABC (2022). ABC: Construction Industry Faces Workforce Shortage of 650,000 in 2022
- PR Newswire (2022). Skilled Trades Labor Scarcity: Workforce Aging as Fewer Recruits Enter Trades
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2022). Occupational Outlook Handbook
- Business Insider (2023). More students are learning to be mechanics, chefs, and construction workers as college enrollment shrinks