As our economy and the housing market continue to recover, home builders across the country are seeking skilled workers – such as carpenters, framers, and roofers – to help them build the American Dream.
After many workers left the home building industry during the Great Recession to pursue employment in other sectors, recent surveys show that not nearly enough of them have returned.
In fact, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data and analysis by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), there were 138,000 open construction sector jobs in August, which was relatively unchanged from July.
An NAHB survey of home builders further illustrates the depth of this problem. Six in 10 of those surveyed experienced delays in completing projects on time, 18 percent had to turn down some projects, and 9 percent lost or cancelled sales because they had too few workers to complete their homes.
We’ve also experienced many of these issues here in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. When builders are unable to schedule trades on time, it means that buyers are unable to move into their home on time. These delays and production logjams are hurting the housing recovery by increasing the cost of building homes and making housing more expensive for consumers.
Building trades offer great career path
A home builder relies on a number of highly trained workers to get the job done right. This includes dozens of skilled artisans and professionals, including carpenters, architects, engineers, plumbers, electricians, painters, and landscapers. Indeed, recent analysis from NAHB shows that 70 percent of builders typically use somewhere between 11 and 30 subcontractors to build a single-family home. On average, 22 different subcontractors are used to build a home.
This means there’s ample opportunity for motivated students seeking a rewarding career path. Residential construction workers consistently express high job satisfaction. And average salaries in the Chattanooga region remain competitive with other industries in our area.
The residential construction industry is one of the few sectors where demand for new workers is rising, and the housing industry is working diligently to meet this challenge by training more workers and leaders in the construction industry.
Terry Greene is the executive officer of the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga (HBAGC). In that role, he’s responsible for the day-to-day management and operation of HBAGC and its 400-plus members.