Insufficient Workers Hamper Infrastructure Industry

Funds get allocated but projects hard to get started. 

Contractors are reporting a lack of workers which is hindering the start of infrastructure projects even as funding for them has been allocated. The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure spending legislation passed and signed into law last November provided for jobs and investment, but there is a significant shortage of construction workers. 

While labor shortages have existed across the country and in a wide array of industries for more than a year, the hiring and retaining of workers has been particularly difficult for the construction industry. And the industry already had workforce challenges prior to the pandemic.

The chief economist with the Associated General Contractors of America said the industry is in a complicated position. He said there is a record number of job openings in the construction industry and that is has been that way for several months. However, he pointed out that while the contractor has offered higher wages, there is still a big shortage of workers for projects across the nation. He said the construction worker shortage has “gotten worse for the right reason” because there are more construction projects than there have previously been. The infrastructure spending bill has produced more demand for the industry. 

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg confirmed the problem. “A lot of my lifetime, the big constant on infrastructure work has been just a lack of funding and a lack of failure to invest,” he said. “We got the funding. Now we have got to make sure that we have the raw materials, the technical capacity, and the workforce to actually get it done.” 

More than half a million workers above the current pace of hiring are needed in order to meet the demand, the associated Building Contractors said earlier this year. Their chief economist called the workforce shortage the “most acute challenge” the industry faces. 

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For Transportation Secretary Buttigieg as he oversees funding of projects from the infrastructure law.
  • For leaders in the construction industry as they attempt to hire and retain workers.
  • For Labor Secretary Walsh as his department analyzes data and supports employment.

Sources: Washington Examiner, Construction Dive, ABC News


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