Construction Field Struggles with Worker Shortage

Modest recovery slows as builders search for crews.

The construction industry shed 2.2 million workers between January 2007 and last year. So now there’s an overabundance of them eager for jobs, right?


Contractors are struggling with shortages of workers as the home-building market comes to life and some commercial sectors strengthen.

The crunch is affecting a handful of states, including Texas, Arizona, Iowa and Florida. But it’s expected to worsen and spread across the U.S. over the next few years, building officials said. The shortages are already prompting builders to raid each other’s job sites for workers.

“It has been a shock for us,” said Milton Chicas, who heads recruiting for Wayne Bros., a Kannapolis, N.C.-based commercial builder in the Southeast. “There are so many folks out of work right now, we thought we were going to have a large amount of individuals coming through the door.”

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