WSJ: Young People Don't Want Construction Jobs. That's a Problem for the Housing Market
Disinterest in construction work is contributing to a labor shortage that has meant fewer homes built and rising prices—possibly for years to come
By Laura Kusisto
July 31, 2018 5:30 a.m. ET
The construction business is having trouble attracting young job seekers.
The share of workers in the sector who are 24 years old or younger has declined in 48 states since the last housing boom in 2005, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data by Issi Romem, chief economist at construction data firm BuildZoom. Nationally, the share of young construction workers declined nearly 30% from 2005 through 2016, according to Mr. Romem.
While there's no single reason why younger folks are losing interest in a job that is generally well-paid and doesn't require a college education, their indifference is exacerbating a labor shortage that has meant fewer homes being built and rising prices, possibly for years to come.
The U.S. had 11.7 million construction workers in 2005, but that peak fell to 10.8 million in 2010 amid the housing crisis. Even as the economy and housing market recovered, the number of workers continued to fall, hitting 10.2 million in 2016, according to Mr. Romem. Declining numbers of immigrant construction workers have made the problem worse.
The loss of young workers, in particular, is “a scar from which the construction industry has yet to recover,” he said.
Courtesy of Wall Street Journal