In 2020, the construction equipment and labor lost more than 1.1 million jobs in just two months: March and April. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry created only 248,000 jobs by the end of the year.
By 2021, there will be only 160,000 more jobs in construction after an average year due to job growth. These small gains have reduced the construction sector with 88,000 pre-pandemic jobs. Unemployment in construction fell by almost half during 2021, starting at 9.4% in January and falling to 5.0% in December. The number of vacancies in 2021 is also rising and falling, from a low of 242,000 to a high of 453,000 in October. Preliminary data from November 2021 show 307,000 job opportunities for construction.
Construction Employment & Labor Woes
Data from the BLS show that the average hourly wage at bowling increased by 4.61% for all employees in 202. In addition, construction companies have a long way to go to attract and retain the next generation of workers. Because they try to add more skilled workers to their wages.
The construction industry has been struggling with a skilled labor shortage dating back to the Great Recession. The issue is more workers are retiring out of the industry compared to younger workers coming in. Construction firms are increasing their efforts to find, train, and retain skilled workers to keep up with demand.
Construction equipment and labor has a stigma that all of its jobs are dirty, dangerous, labor-intensive, and low-paying. While some of that is true to a certain degree, the construction industry offers a wide variety of high-paying jobs and plenty of opportunities for career advancement into lucrative positions. The pandemic was less conducive to enrollment in a community college that provides vocational training for many experienced construction workers. Part of President Biden’s first infrastructure plan is investing $100 billion in staff development to create curricula and provide training. But this was unfortunately not included in the final account.
Construction companies need to be aggressive in their recruitment and retention programs. It is to start attracting and training young workers to increase the number of people in 2022 and beyond.
Material Costs & Supply Chain Issues
Another big building story last year was the astronomical jump in the price of building materials. At the beginning of the year, the cost of some materials, such as softwood, chipboard and particle board, regular petrol and diesel, was more than double last year. The price of plywood, asphalt and scrap iron and steel also rose sharply.
While the prices of some materials have begun to fall in recent months, in 2022 we are likely to see further up and down movements on most building materials costs. The latest data from November 2021 show that inputs for new construction, excluding capital investment, labor and imports increased by 20.54% compared to the previous year, the special index for building materials increased by 34.65% and final demand for construction increased 12, 27 % a year ago.
Materials delivery lead time is double, triple, or higher than what it was pre-pandemic and that looks like that will continue to some extent into 2022. Supply chain issues will likely continue as demand for materials stays strong and possible complications due to the faster-spreading omicron variant could result in even longer lead times for certain materials.
As contractors sign new contracts and take on more work for later in the year. They need to stay on top of their suppliers and get their orders sooner to ensure materials are on time. And to keep track of the potential for rapid changes in material costs.