By: Tom Radz | 06/09/22 |

Construction Labor Outlook for Q2 of 2022

One of the major pain points for general contractors, right now, is the shortage of skilled workers. Despite the steady decline of construction unemployment, firms are still struggling to find the necessary manpower across a number of different trades.

According to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), nearly 20,000 jobs were added between February and March of this year. However, trades like masonry, carpentry, electrical, and plumbing are still struggling to keep up with demand due to a dwindling workforce.

One major factor for this shortage can be directly linked to the pandemic. When the entire construction industry came to halt, in early 2020, many of the workers in the higher age group decided to retire early. When this mass exodus occurred, there was a disproportionate amount of entry-level/apprentices entering these trades. 

Among all of the trades, only construction laborers saw an increase in employment since the onset of the pandemic. The recruitment of laborers can most likely be attributed to the average pay, which has been gradually increasing, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS).

Despite reaching a record level of unfilled jobs in January, at 380,000 vacancies, the BLS also reported that overall unemployment in the construction industry is at 4.6 percent as of April of 2022. This is well below the pre-pandemic numbers which were 5.5 percent in February of 2020. 

The numbers appear to be trending positively, but because most of the vacancies are in the more skilled trades, general contractors are still showing concern. Demand has returned across most sectors, many of which are near pre-pandemic levels, yet there is this lingering obstacle that all firms must face. Lack of manpower leads to delays, so general contractors are scrambling to find solutions to this ongoing issue.