Labor Shortages in Modular Construction Continues in 2023

Same Old…Same Old. That’s the consensus of the construction industry and the challenges it will face in 2023. In this first “nearly normal” year after the pandemic, expect a similar but narrowed down a slate of issues to contend with, including skilled labor availability, supply issues, and a cooling housing market.

The labor shortage was less pronounced in 2022, with hirings trending upward during the year according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics which indicates that the unemployment rate in the construction industry dropped to 3.4 percent in September, the lowest level since September 2019.

It isn’t the number of people out of work that’s the real problem, the challenge is to find people who want to come back to work.

Is Construction a Good Career?

Baby boomers, who currently make up 25 percent of the U.S. workforce, are rapidly retiring. The National Center for Construction Research projects that 40 percent of this group—roughly 16 million workers—will collect their gold watches during the next 10 years. Generation X is still solidly in the workforce but aging. Millennials, who rival baby boomers in workgroup size, spearheaded the Great Resignation and don’t consider construction to be a worthwhile career industry.

Great Resignation

About 50.5 million people quit their jobs in 2022, besting the prior record set in 2021, according to the federal JOLTS report. The pandemic-era trend of elevated voluntary departures has come to be known as the Great Resignation. Most people quit to take new jobs, not to leave the workforce altogether.

This doesn’t make life easy for the industry. Having fewer workers gives companies fewer choices on the number and types of projects they can bid on. And, meeting contract agreements and completing projects on time becomes harder if companies lack skilled professionals.

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Gary Fleisher, the Modcoach

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Gary Fleisher

Gary Fleisher, “The Mod Coach”, has been entrenched in the offsite construction industry for most of his life. Having started his career in the lumber industry, Gary spent decades working with manufactured and modular home producers and homebuilders. For the past 15 years his blog and LinkedIn postings have introduced thousands to the benefits of factory-built construction and have served as a forum for industry professionals to share insights and perspectives. Gary lives in Hagerstown, MD with his wife, Peg.

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