The first-quarter USG Corporation + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index reports the numerous ways the labor shortage continues to affect the industry, including asking workers to do more work, struggling to meet deadlines, increasing costs for new work and having to reject new projects.
The index shows a healthy market, but contractors are still cautious.
"The first-quarter findings suggests that the fundamentals of the construction industry remain strong, but to sustain future growth, it is clear that we need bipartisan policy solutions from Washington that promote trade, reform our immigration system, and better prepare America's workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow," says Neil Bradley, U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president and chief policy officer.
Surveyors believe a contributing factor to the labor shortage is the negative perception of construction careers, which leads to fewer people seeking out industry jobs.
Some of the biggest myths contractors hear about working in the commercial building industry are that construction jobs are "dirty" and construction is a job—not a career. However, contractors note construction offers good pay, opportunities for advancement and the ability to learn new skills on the job to help advance your career.
"It is important for construction leaders to consider how we can shift the perception of the industry and increase the number of young workers who want to work in the trades," says Jennifer Scanlon, president and CEO of USG Corporation. "Retention will be particularly important to meet infrastructure demands, as well as a continued focus on innovative processes and technology on the job site."