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Defining a labor shortage in California’s construction industry

People in California may have seen an interesting editorial article on the issue of skilled construction labor, which is central to the success and productivity of many construction firms. As demand for new construction continues to rise, some players in the industry say they are having a tough time finding and retaining qualified employees.

The construction industry in the United States as a whole is undoubtedly on the rise, showing an increase of almost 4% in employment this year. In California, the increase is even more significant, at roughly 30% more employment than the lows reached during the recent recession. As the California economy continues to dig its way out of the doldrums, construction will continue to be an integral industry, accounting for about one out of every ten jobs created in the recovery.

With construction workers in high demand, over one-third of construction bosses in California have reported having a hard time finding employees to meet their growing needs, especially in skilled labor positions. There are many theories for this, including the decreasing union presence in the California construction industry, and the idea that the lack of steady work and lower wages has sent skilled craftsmen to seek employment in other trades.

It is possible that worker wages are a big reason why so many skilled workers have left construction for greener pastures. In 2012, the average salary for a seasoned construction worker was $32,800. People facing worker shortages or encountering trouble retaining existing employees may have to deal with contract disputes or find creative ways to get qualified people on board in order to keep projects on schedule. When disputes arise, it’s always a good idea to have the counsel of an experienced construction law attorney.

Source: Orange County Register “Lansner: Construction suffers shortage of workers (maybe),” Jonathan Lansner, Nov. 4, 2014