Help wanted: Housing industry fights chronic labor shortage

LAS VEGAS — The housing industry still has a "help wanted" sign out. But so far there’s no sign of the more than 200,000 workers homebuilders are ready to hire.


The chronic labor shortage is raising costs, adding to building time and biting into profits, industry experts at this week’s International Builders’ Show said.


"There is no silver bullet to this issue," said Robert Dietz, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, which sponsors the annual conference. "It’s going to take a long time to fix."



For the last two years, higher material costs and a shortage of construction labor were the top two worries of U.S. builders.

The construction industry still hasn’t recovered from the economic downturn of a decade ago.


"You had a lot of people leave the industry during the Great Recession, and they haven’t come back," Dietz said.


The slowdown in immigration is also a factor, he said.


"We are short more than 200,000 construction workers in the U.S., and getting younger workers is going to be a real challenge," Dietz said.


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