Excerpted from the forthcoming white paper, Occupational Shortages in the Construction Industry
Recent media coverage of the construction industry suggests a shortage of workers, especially subcontractors, in the Rocky Mountain and High Plains region. The Research & Planning (R&P) section of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Service recently published the results of a new study on the issues surrounding occupational shortages. Occupational Shortages in the Construction Industry by Katelynd Faler can be found at http://doe.state.wy.us/LMI/w_r_research/constr_2014.pdf.
R&P found that although there is no established labor shortage for the U.S. labor market as a whole, there may be shortages in particular sectors. According to the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, average annual seasonally adjusted employment decreased in the construction industry 3.1% from 2009 to 2013, in contrast to the overall employment increase of 4.2%. As a percentage of average total covered employment measured by the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), Current Employment Statistics show the construction industry composed less of total employment in 2013 (4.4%) than in 2009 (4.7%).
In inflation-adjusted dollars, the construction sector’s median hourly wage declined 1.7% between 2009 and 2013, a slower decline than the change in the median hourly wage of all occupations of -2.6%. Over this time, Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey data show the median hourly wage for those employed in the construction sector was consistently about 14.8% higher than wages overall; the weighted median hourly wages in construction were $20.29 compared to $17.13 for all occupations. These relatively higher wages may attract labor to the construction industry, should there be a demand for it.