Fountain Of Youth Running Dry For Construction Industry

Aging baby boomers and millennials are creating a problem in the construction industry.

As boomers retire, they are leaving behind a void in the job force that millennials are not interested in filling. If the industry does not address this disparity in the workforce the labor shortage in the construction market will deepen further.

In 2005, there were 11.5 million workers in the construction industry and the unemployment rate hovered around 8.2%. That number dropped to 10.6 million in 2010 and unemployment jumped to 18%. While employment has improved since the recession, the workforce has not rebounded to pre-recession levels.

In 2015, the unemployment rate was 7.1%, but the construction workforce contracted further to 10.4 million, according to a report from BuildZoom.

BuildZoom Chief Economist Issi Romem said part of the problem is young workers do not find physical labor and construction work attractive. A recent survey of 18- to 25-year-olds from the National Association of Home Builders revealed only 3% of young people were interested in pursuing construction as a career while most surveyed wanted a less physically demanding job and perceived construction as difficult.

More millennials also are going to college and pursuing careers in corporate America rather than blue-collar jobs. About 27% of millennial women and 21% of millennial men have completed a bachelor’s degree. Comparatively, 17% of baby boomer men and 14% of baby boomer women hold a bachelor’s degree, according to Pew Research.

Construction wages also are low and have not increased significantly within the last 15 years. In 2000, the average salary for a construction worker was $49K per year. It decreased to $47K per year in 2005 and increased to $48K per year in 2015, still shy of the 2000 levels, according to BuildZoom.

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Date Posted: 16 Aug, 2017
Written By: Bisnow

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