Help Wanted: Home Builders
As the housing industry struggles with tightened inventory, one problem facing home builders is a shortage of skilled laborers. Throughout the country, builders are struggling to fill open positions and this is causing rising labor costs, increased construction time, and higher home prices.
"We are now at the point that there is a serious shortage of workers," said Jerry Howard, CEO of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). "It's a real problem that ripples throughout the home-building process that ultimately costs the consumer."
According to a report by the NAHB, builders currently employ about 2.7 million workers. This is a significant drop from April 2006, when the industry employed roughly 3.4 million workers. Some foreign-born workers are returning to their home countries amidst new immigration policy, and other aging workers are retiring. One home builder in Texas reports the average amount of time it takes to build a custom home has increased from eight to ten months.
One step the industry is taking to grow the labor force is outreach through nonprofits like the Home Builders Institute. The Home Builders Institute offers training and industry certification to attract younger workers. The Home Builders Institute reports about 90% of its program graduates go on to find gainful employment.