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Builders Say the Labor Shortage Hit a Record High

NAHB survey: Almost 9 out of 10 builders can’t find enough framers and carpenters, with more than 55% of single-family builders reporting a shortage in 16 trades.

WASHINGTON – A record number of homebuilders report a shortage of workers, such as carpenters, painters and electricians, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports. The shortages present yet another challenge as home demand increases. Builders now struggle to meet buyer demand as they also face surging prices for materials and shortages of lots.

In October, the share of builders reporting a labor shortage reached a record high of 76%, well above the previous peak of 67% set at the end of the 1990s. The latest percentage is also much higher than the 45% reached during the housing boom in the mid-2000s when the industry needed to find enough labor to build 2 million homes a year to meet demand, NAHB reports.

More than 55% of single-family builders reported a shortage for each of 16 trades crucial in building a home. More than 80% of builders reported a shortage of labor for carpenters (rough, finished, and framing crews).

At a time when home improvement demand is surging, remodelers in that specialty also report extreme labor shortages in the same 16 trades.

Percent of new-home builders reporting a labor shortage by profession

  • Framing crews: 86%
  • Carpenters-rough: 86%
  • Carpenters-finished: 85%
  • Plumbers: 77%
  • Bricklayers/masons: 77%
  • Concrete workers: 76%
  • Electricians: 76%
  • HVAC workers: 745
  • Painters: 74%
  • Drywall installation workers: 72%
  • Flooring installers: 70%
  • Landscape workers: 66%
  • Roofers: 64%
  • Excavators: 64%
  • Weatherization workers: 63%
  • Building maintenance manager: 56%

Source: “Record Share of NAHB Members Report Labor Shortages,” National Association of Home Builders (Nov. 15, 2021)

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