2022 Construction Outlook: Looking to Overcome the Labor Shortage
As we launch 2022, the overall sentiment is a positive one for the construction industry. As the economy continues to rebound, and incentives are added to the marketplace, the general market forecast is showing a 2.3% increase for the year for all nonresidential construction spending, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Despite 2021’s woes of supply chain disruptions and high material costs, the industry is well-positioned to continue its growth trajectory. Sustainable initiatives will continue to drive growth, and the industry continues to increase its investments in technology to shift toward connected construction capabilities, allowing firms to support initiatives such as smart cities, urban air mobility and climate change programs. Thanks to the recently approved Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, we’ll see $110 billion on roads, bridges and major infrastructure projects, $66 billion on passenger and freight rail, $55 billion on water infrastructure, $40 billion on bridge repair and $39 billion in public transit infrastructure. Expect infrastructure projects spurred by the act to start hitting the market in the third and fourth quarters of 2022.
That said, labor shortages will continue to be a challenge well into 2022. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction was still down nearly 115,000 jobs in November 2021 as compared to February 2020, prior to COVID. Currently, 3% of all job openings in the U.S. are in the construction sector, according to Moody’s Analytics. The pandemic saw the retirement of nearly 1.5 million baby boomers who retired earlier than anticipated, removing many skilled building trade workers from the industry. While job openings across the country have hit a two-year high, job growth has slowed largely because of the drive for more remote work than on-site.
Some experts are predicting the labor shortage to reach crisis proportions throughout 2022. In a recent Deloitte survey, more than half of engineering and construction executives indicate their organization is facing a severe labor and talent shortage on the job site. Six in 10 firms in 2021 reported experiencing project delays due to workforce shortages.
Labor shortage issues mean hiring, talent management and workforce experience will be even more important – convincing younger workers that construction offers a good future now and expanding training opportunities to meet the needs of integrated digital technologies.
Given the active market, employees are in demand. If you’re a hiring manager and want access to our database of thousands of candidates in the construction market, or if you wanted to be added to our database and are looking to make a job change, contact us today.