Where Are All The People?


June, 2018

In the second quarter of 2018, the United States Gypsum (USG) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index (CCI) have discovered that 9 out of 10 contractors are gravely concerned about the ongoing labor shortage, and are unsure of how to combat these challenges. Why is the construction industry experiencing such a labor shortage? This shortage has now impacted the industry’s fourth consecutive quarter, and companies are now finding themselves asking an ongoing question: Where are all the people?

Construction Helmets Hung Up

This isn’t a new issue

Unfortunately, this crisis isn’t new to the industry. Ever since the end of 2012, the industry has seen a decrease in involvement. While this shortage may be due partly to misconceptions on the industry, it’s also highly mysterious. Contractors aren’t sure why people are shying away from the industry, and are baffled at the continued struggle to assemble passionate and skilled teams. While they aren’t sure why this is happening, they’re sure this won’t be changing anytime soon. Almost 50% of contractors feel their ability to find adequate labor will diminish over the course of the next six months.

Construction is booming, even if the labor isn’t

Despite labor shortages, contractors are feeling highly confident in the industry as a whole right now. In fact, according to the above mentioned study conducted by the USG and CCI, 96% of contractors reported commercial construction services to be at an all time high, and are expecting to see an increase in demand over the course of 2018. Revenue is high, project volume is high, and the overall industry is reaching an all-time high. Now, how will these construction companies and freelancers balance the booming industry with no one to help with the rising demand?

Construction Worker Flying Drone

Replacing humans with tech?

With limited options, companies are turning to technology to compensate for the 200,000 unfilled construction jobs nationwide. By turning to drones, artificial intelligence, automated machinery, enhanced collaboration, and some off-site construction, construction teams are implementing creative technology. By supplementing work sites with these various forms of technology, employers can then delegate the more delicate and artistic work to their limited human workers. The industry is not forcing people out in exchange for tech, rather, it’s solving an unavoidable issue with the most effective solution.

Coping with the labor shortage

There are a few ways to cope with the labor shortage in the industry. A key point is to take extra care when aligning labor with projects. What is the timeline for each project, and how can the client’s needs be best matched with the abilities of your team? By being proactive, contractors can plan ahead so they have additional laborers on site as needed. There are no right or wrong methods when strategizing, and each contractor needs to plan according to their needs.

Here at J-Tech, we’re passionate about all things construction. Working in construction is fulfilling, challenging, and provides ample room for professional growth, and fortunately, J-Tech’s team is full of amazing industry professionals. Give us a call for any of your outdoor projects this summer, and the exterior experts will kick it off right!

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