Nationwide, construction spending has seen an average annual increase of about 10 percent for the past two years, while employment has only increased an average of 2 percent each year. Together, these numbers mean that some areas of the country already are experiencing a skilled worker shortage – including Iowa.
Iowa can expect to see around $9 billion in large commercial projects in 2013, according to an article published in the Des Moines Register (full article available on ConstructionEquipment.com). This growing demand coupled with fewer younger workers entering the field and older workers retiring, means the state’s builders are feeling the pain of not enough skilled labor.
The article cites data from Master Builders of Iowa showing the state’s construction industry can expect a shortage of around 2,700 workers each year for the next seven years. And builders currently are reporting shortages of steel workers, heavy equipment operators, concrete workers, carpenters and project supervisors.
Some in the industry are responding by asking workers to delay retirement, using recruiters and doing more in-house training. Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Iowa Apprenticeship and Training Trust is pitching in, too. On Aug. 21, they will have an open house for their brand-new training facility that boasts seven state-of-the-art classrooms, a welding lab and a world class hands-on training lab.