Construction companies are offering higher wages to attract skilled labor to the industry, which is expanding in 2018 largely because of tax cuts, Fox Business reports.
Three quarters of U.S. construction companies are looking to hire in the coming months, up from 73 percent at the same time last year, according to The Associated General Contractors of America.
As most plan to expand their workforce, however, 82 percent of construction companies believe hiring skilled labor to fill those positions will either remain difficult or become harder, a 6 percent increase from last year.
To gain an edge in the highly competitive labor market, employers are bumping up starting salaries.
“The general population doesn’t know how rewarding and profitable [construction jobs can be],” Construction Industry Institute Director Stephen Mulva told Fox Business. “Six-figure salaries are not uncommon.”
Companies have the most trouble filling specialized positions that require additional training, such as welding and operating a crane.
Transportation, manufacturing and other industries are also struggling to fill open positions with qualified labor. In the hyper-competitive U.S. labor market, employers can bump up wages after Republican tax cuts. If that doesn’t draw skilled employees in, however, business may be forced to reign in any plans to expand or cut back production, The Washington Post reports.
The labor shortage could slow down the economy, Pacific Research Institute senior fellow Wayne Winegarden told WaPo.
“If you have less labor, you’re going to have less growth,” Winegarden said, “unless it’s compensated by more technology or higher productivity.”
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