Ken Simonson, Chief Economist of the Association of General Contractors, gave a presentation in Phoenix this month and provided an update on the economics of the construction industry.

He spoke in generally positive terms about the strength of the current construction spend through 2018. “Economic growth remains solid, and building market fundamentals are supportive of further growth in construction activity.” But, he noted, labor shortages are making it hard to grow revenues. He expects the construction spend to hit $1.22 Trilllion in 2017, slightly higher than the peak in 2006. Yet, the total number of people employed in the industry is down a little over 10% over the same period.

In Arizona, the situation is even worse with employment numbers down by 43% since June of 2016. There are not enough qualified construction workers looking for work with the number of construction job seekers in September representing the lowest September figure since 2000

Simonson listed the hardest positions to fill as hourly crafts, carpenters, electricians, bricklayers, and plumbers.

And, he said that contractors are trying a number of approaches to cope with the worker shortage, including paying higher rates, paying overtime, and providing in-house training.

At DHx Software, part of our focus is on helping construction companies use resources more efficiently by optimizing the way systems such as the project management and time tracking applications work together to help with planning and coordination.

We also work with  construction companies to leverage on-line learning management software to develop and deploy new training materials in order to bring new employees up to speed, teach existing employees new skills, and to simply track who needs to take which training.

If you are interested in seeing where we can help you be more efficient, or if you would like to read our white paper on using a learning management system to grow your business while containing costs, please contact us at [email protected] and [email protected].