The State of Housing and Skilled Labor in 2020

  • Categories:

    Industry Trends, Marketing Insights

  • Date:

    February 11, 2020

The State of Housing and Skilled Labor in 2020



Industry Trends, Marketing Insights

Each year, NAHB International Builders’ Show® (IBS) hosts annual education sessions during Design & Construction Week, covering everything from design trends to market indicators.

We attended the housing and economic outlook session during our trip to Las Vegas last month, and while we left with many valuable insights, one point on the supply side left a strong impression: In 2020, NAHB expects the skilled labor shortage in the U.S. to plateau at around 4%.

It’s a sign of progress for the building, construction, remodeling and apartment development industries as we look ahead to the next 10 or even 20 years. This stabilization can be attributed to proactive efforts across the homebuilding and retail industries, spearheaded by leaders like Lowe’s with their Generation T movement, to support and advocate for trade training and career development.

Good News, but With a Grain of Salt

Worth considering: While the skilled labor shortage is projected to plateau this year, it is still a significant factor that will continue to impact costs, project timelines and quality, with 311,000 open construction positions as of October 2019 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It’s also important to note that this does not represent a true correction, nor does it indicate an emerging trend of reduced labor shortages. While stabilization is a promising sign, we can’t rely on exploding population growth or a rapid influx of new, skilled workers to create sea change overnight. Like a big ship turning back, the skilled labor shortage will take time to reverse.

Projecting the Skilled Labor Long Game

What’s more, skilled labor may never be what it once was, thanks largely to significant progress in building technology. Construction industry leaders are working hard to understand and operate in the new normal. To be successful, builders and building product manufacturers must understand that they can only control what they can control, while also working to develop recruitment, trade training and retainment programs to develop their own long-term labor pipeline.

Interested in learning more about how these projections may potentially impact your business and strategies for 2020? Email me to share your reactions or let us know how we can help your brand.

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