Construction Growth Outpaces the Workforce

Several years after enduring a precipitous downturn, the construction industry is dealing with an equally ominous threat: widespread labor shortages. A serious gap exists between the upcoming demand for labor and the number of available workers with the skills needed to fill those positions. With construction spending in New York City growing faster than the labor pool, the local market is desperately trying to keep pace.


“Owners are always seeking better ways of expediting the delivery of projects,” said Gavin Middleton, Chief Operating Officer at Lehrer Cumming, a growing NYC-based owner advisory firm. “But this often requires more manpower and extended shifts for an already extended labor market.”

According to FMI’s 2019 Industry Outlook, total construction spending in the Mid-Atlantic region (including New York, but also New Jersey and Pennsylvania) should increase 5 percent year over year, from $153.6 billion to $161.3 billion. The trend will hold in coming years as well, with spending expected to increase at a rate of 4.5 percent between now and 2022.


At the same time, construction industry unemployment has dropped to an 18-year low.

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