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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

October 22, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Contractors worry about qualified worker shortage

The Associated General Contractors released a report today where 83 percent of respondents said they were having at least some trouble finding qualified craft workers as the industry recovers.

The trade association’s chief economist, Ken Simonson, said this was a consequence of the nation’s educational system shifting away from teaching career and technical skills.

The situation in one area is somewhat more serious in Washington, where 38 percent of respondents said they were having a “hard time filling some key professional and craft worker positions.” Nationally, the number was 29 percent.

Pipefitters and welders are most in demand for those having trouble finding qualified help here. Forty-eight percent said the quality of craft-worker training programs here was “average” while 10 percent said “above average” and 14 percent said “poor.”

But will they pay to attract skilled workers? According to the survey, 33 percent of Washington respondents have increased base pay and 19 percent have improved benefits. But 29 percent said they have not raised pay and “we are not considering doing so for the foreseeable future.”

Here’s the hole the industry is digging itself out of:

WAconst

And a couple of looks at earnings and wages:

WAconstpay

WAconsthourly

The dissonance in these two charts is likely explained by the loss of so many jobs. Thus total wages and salaries fell even while hourly have improved. So there appears to be a bidding war for the most qualified people.


Today’s Econ Haiku:

Driving is ideal

In those idyllic car ads

Real life means idle


 

 

 

 

Comments | More in Jobs/Unemployment | Topics: construction

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