Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Building Blocks: Construction Industry Expects Growth despite Labor Shortage

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Building Blocks: Construction Industry Expects Growth despite Labor Shortage

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - The construction industry's employee shortage will not end in 2016, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.

In Oklahoma, AGC surveyed 25 firms, with 44 percent stating they are having a hard time filling salaried and craft positions. Fifty percent of respondents expect it to continue to be hard to find qualified construction professionals.

Nationwide, the organization surveyed 1,580 construction firms, and the largest segment, 39 percent, said they are having a hard time filling salaried and craft positions. In addition, 40 percent said they expect it will continue to be hard to find qualified construction professionals.

AGC Oklahoma Executive Director Doug Tapp said he has not heard of projects being delayed because of the shortage, but some general contractors are having difficulties getting bids.

"I've heard some subcontractors say they are full and they're not bidding any work for a period of time," Tapp said. "Everyone's being a lot more careful on how much work to take on."

He said general contractors need construction managers, superintendents, estimators and project managers. He said subcontractors need a variety of employees, from tradesmen to salaried positions.

AGC Chief Economist Kenneth Simonson said the labor shortage dates back at least 20 years, when parents and counselors started pushing students into college. That led to a decline in people entering vocational trades. When the recession hit, commercial construction slowed dramatically and people left the industry. From April 2006 to January 2011, across the country 2.3 million people left the industry. In Oklahoma, many went into the energy industry and never returned. …

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