A shortage in the number of construction workers over a prolonged period has resulted in a call for immigration reform by the Associated General Contractors of America. The chief economist of the group, Kenneth D Simonson, says that while they recognize the importance of safe borders, it is also crucial for the future of the growth of the economy in the US to ensure that the available workforce is large enough.
According to a workforce survey, released on Wednesday (August 29, 2018) by the contractor’s group, 78% of all construction companies in the state of Texas have had trouble finding workers qualified to work in construction, a difficulty that has persisted despite a degree of growth in the labor market.
A recent analysis of employment growth in the construction industry showed that Houston leads the country with an industry boom that occurred in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Simonson says. As many as 25,500 new construction jobs were created between July last year and 2018 in the metro area that includes Houston, Sugar Land, and the Woodlands. It is an increase of no less than 12%, yet local construction companies are still struggling to find workers.
The chief operating officer of building firm Marek, Mike Holland, agrees that immigration reform is vital, pointing out that their economic viability depends on being able to access skilled labor, and the reality is that there is a large immigrant workforce in the industry that needs to be maintained.