The sky-high rates of employment are causing some of the biggest businesses in the U.S. headaches at the moment—in particular companies in need of talent with nowhere left to look for it.
The construction industry is continually struggling to recruit the people it needs, as well as find enough staff to replace those leaving the workforce due to retirement.
In fact, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) reported last month that the sector needs to attract an additional 546,000 workers on top of its normal rate of hiring in order to keep up with demand.
The issue has gotten so bad that one Montana-based firm told the Minneapolis Fed it’s hired a private jet to transport staff to jobs.
The Fed’s latest Beige Book, released this week, featured a report stating: “A Montana construction firm has found it economical to rent a jet to fly workers to one of its plants to fill operational needs.”
The report adds the firm wanted to hire local employees as its “first choice but had to adjust when [it] could not staff that way.”
The state added that labor shortages had improved slightly across the board but remained “problematic.” Its update continued: “A recent Minneapolis-area job fair with more than 20 employers and hundreds of job openings attracted only 20 people.”
The roundup also features sources in San Francisco saying labor availability in the sector is “tight across skill levels,” while the Cleveland Fed said, “sustained competition for skilled workers was still leading to large pay increases.”
Wage growth has previously been an issue for the man at the top of the pile, Jerome Powell.
In December the Fed chair said wage increases “hold the key to understanding” inflation and that in many sectors, including the service industry, they are increasing well ahead of the 2% benchmark.
Economists at Bank of America have warned the body will hike rates to the “point of pain” in order to get inflation back under control, with some expecting them to land at around 5.75 before beginning to drop off next year.
ABC’s chief economist, Anirban Basu, warned the supply and demand imbalance in the construction labor market could be even further squeezed in years to come.
Basu said: “With nearly one in four construction workers older than 55, retirements will continue to whittle away at the construction workforce.
“Many of these older construction workers are also the most productive, refining their skills over time. The number of construction laborers, the most entry-level occupational title, has accounted for nearly four out of every 10 new construction workers since 2012. Meanwhile, the number of skilled workers has grown at a much slower pace or, in the case of certain occupations like carpenter, declined.”
ABC is also predicting that even with a slowdown in the sector, an additional 342,000 new workers will need to be hired.
CEO of the organization, Michael Bellaman, said that growing the skilled worker pool is “vital to America’s economy and infrastructure rebuilding initiatives.”
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