From: CNN Business America desperately needs 1 million more construction workers – CNN
Updated 6:36 PM ET, Sun July 11, 2021
New York (CNN Business)Matthew Messer hauls solar panels on the roof of a home in Long Island, New York, hoisting them one by one in the 100-degree June heat. Messer is the owner of New York Solar Maintenance, but these days he’s working right alongside his lead technician seven days a week as business booms.
“This is not the perfect way to be spending my time right now,” Messer says of his days spent up on roofs. “But it’s what needs to happen
That’s because Messer says he can’t find anyone to hire. His small business has three open roles, ranging from entry level to lead technician — one example of an industry-wide problem
as a labor shortage
meets increased demand.
New home construction and improvement are surging
, thanks to the lack of inventory in a red-hot housing market
and more people working from home. In an industry already short on workers before the pandemic, construction businesses will need to hire 430,000 workers this year and 1 million more over the next two years in order to keep up, according to Associated Builders and Contractors.
“The phone is ringing off the hook,” Messer said. “I am expanding as quickly as I can, but right now that’s governed by the amount of skilled technicians I can bring on.”
The construction industry shut down for a few months last year during the pandemic — but was quickly deemed essential, allowing paused projects to continue. But in that short time, the sector lost more than 1 million workers. The industry has recouped nearly 80% of its workforce
since then, but is still down 238,000 workers from pre-pandemic levels as of June, according to the Labor Department.
“We’re losing more people than we’re bringing into the industry,” said Matthew Schimenti, owner of Schimenti Construction Company. “People made decisions in their lives to leave the region and the industry [during the pandemic]. It was like putting a puzzle back together to restart where we literally called a timeout.”
Schimenti Construction — which primarily works on commercial projects — has 20 open positions across all skill levels. They’ve even hired two internal recruiters just to look for talent. Commercial construction remained largely flat during the pandemic, but it’s expected to pick up as the US economy returns to pre-pandemic norms.
“If we wished it was just a bad dream and it would go away and everybody would just come back— that’s not going to happen,” Schimenti said…….