Labor Burden

The August 2013 feature topic is Labor: Today, tomorrow, and ten years away.

Newest stories go to the top, broad background info is towards the bottom.


From BUILDER | August 8, 2013

Where is the labor?

Insights, analysis, and expert hiring Tips to help you staff up for the new-Home Building comeback.

The Beutler Corp., one of the largest HVAC, plumbing, and fire sprinkler contractors in the western U.S., hired 270 employees last year, bringing its total workforce to more than 600. It expects to hire another 250 employees in 2013. At a time when home builders and subcontractors around the country are becoming nervous about the availability and rising cost of labor in core trades, McClellan, Calif.–based Beutler is Exhibit A for how construction companies with foresight are getting ahead of impending shortages via proactive recruiting and training programs that align their workforces with a housing market that’s expanding again faster than labor is keeping up.

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From BUILDER | August 5, 2013

The Hispanic Labor Demand

Will immigration reform quash the flow of laborers?

Despite the exodus of immigrant labor after the housing and mortgage sectors unraveled, Hispanic workers remain a huge presence in several states. “If we didn’t have Hispanic workers, we wouldn’t be able to do anything,” says Kevin Padgett of KEP Electric in Ohio...

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From BUILDER | Posted on: July 22, 2013

Union Promises Carpenters as Home Building Revs Up

Unions promise trained carpenters when housing market rebounds.

When home builders need carpenters, union trained ones will be available in the markets where unions are active, says Douglas J. McCarron, general president of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.

With 250 training centers, an extensive apprenticeship program, and recruiting programs at community colleges and high schools, the union has the infrastructure in place to gear up quickly to provide the next generation of carpenters,

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From BUILDER 2013 | July 11, 2013

Need Bright Young Managers? Recruit at These Colleges and Universities

These baccalaureate programs are accredited by the American Council for Construction Education.

A comprehensive list of colleges and universities that are churning out college graduates with degrees in construction management and related fields. These baccalaureate programs accredited by the American Council for Construction Education.

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From REMODELING | July 24, 2013

11-Step Hiring Process

This time-consuming process not only saves time and money, it yields employees that fit the company culture.

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From BUILDER | July 22, 2013

Why It's Beneficial to Keep Women in the Workforce

Why keeping smart, educated women on the job can help your bottom line.

Many more women are graduating college than men, and women now outnumber men in the workforce. It’s expensive to hire new employees and train them; it’s much easier to keep well-trained, productive women by offering equal pay for equal work, flexible schedules, and promotions.

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From REMODELING | July 24, 2013

Tips for Hosting In-House Training Sessions

Quarterly "lunch and learn" educational sessions for employees help BOWA Builders reduce construction defects and improve processes.

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From BUILDER | July 22, 2013

Union Promises Carpenters as Home Building Revs Up

When home builders need carpenters, union trained ones will be available in the markets where unions are active, says Douglas J. McCarron, general president of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.

With 250 training centers, an extensive apprenticeship program, and recruiting programs at community colleges and high schools, the union has the infrastructure in place to gear up quickly to provide the next generation of carpenters.

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From BUILDER | July 19, 2013

Labor force participation's new direction

Macroeconomic Advisers explores reasons for the sharp decline in the labor force participation rate--structural and cyclical--in the past few years, and discusses timing on when the cyclical decline may reverse...

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From: REMODELING | July 18, 2013

The End Starts at the Beginning: How to Establish Policies for Firing an Employee

Construction lawyer Christopher Hill outlines w hat you should do to establish policies that will help smooth an employee's exit.

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From Denver Post | June 10, 2013

Denver home builders on labor constraints

The demand for new homes in Colorado has left builders scrambling to find enough skilled workers, a scenario that seemed improbable a year or two ago.

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From: BUILDER | July 15, 2013

STAT OF THE DAY: NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index

This month's IMI was released on July 8, providing new housing permit, home price, and employment growth statistics for us to feast our data-hungry eyes on. For the purpose of our labor package, this week we're focusing our stats of the day on employment growth statistics from the MI's over the past few months.

The lucky number of the day is...23: the number of markets with employment growth of 10 percent or higher this month.

Following the saying, employment is getting bigger in Texas. Midland and Odessa, Texas, topped the list at 30.4 percent and 29.5 percent, while Columbus, Ind. lagged a little behind at 22.1 percent. It's also worth nothing that six of the 23 markets on this list are representing the Lone Star State.

Most interesting about this dataset is just how much the top three markets for employment growth blew their 20 list counterparts out of the water. The Midland, Odessa, and Columbus markets account for an entire quarter of the dataset: the Midland market represents 9.2 percent of that 25 percent, Odessa represents 6.8 percent, and Columbus represents 8.9.

In this graphic you can see the breakdown:
CO_755statpie715

Full list of 23 markets with employment growth at 10 percent or more :

1. Midland, Texas: 30.4% growth since 9/30/09
2. Odessa, Texas: 29.5% growth since 8/31/09
3. Columbus, Ind.: 22.1 % growth since 7/31/09
4. Elkhart, Ind.: 21.4% growth since 6/30/09
5. Cleveland, Tenn.: 15.5% growth since 11/30/10
6. Provo, Utah: 15.1% growth since 12/31/09
7. Holland, Mich.: 15.0% growth since 6/30/09
8. Nashville, Tenn.: 13.5% growth since 9/30/09
9. Bismarck, ND: 13.2% growth since 12/31/07
10. Austin, Texas: 12.7% growth since 9/30/09
11. Winchester, Virginia: 12.6% growth since 10/31/09
12. Grand Rapids, Mich.: 11.5% growth since 7/31/09
12. Longview, Texas: 11.5% growth since 10/31/09
12. San Luis, Obispo, Calif.: 11.5% growth since 7/31/09
15. Fargo, ND: 11.4% growth since 4/30/09
16. Houston, Texas: 11.3% growth since 12/31/09
17. Casper, Wyom.: 11.1% growth since 12/31/09
18. St. George, Utah: 10.8% growth since 12/31/09
19. Laredo, Texas: 10.6% growth since 8/31/09
20. Greeley, Colo.: 10.4% growth since 12/31/09
21. San Jose, Calif.: 10.3% growth since 7/31/09
22. Santa Cruz, Calif.: 10.1% growth since 1/31/10
23. Naples, Florida: 10.0% growth since 12/31/09

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From BUILDER 2013 | May 13, 2013

Another Analysis Wonders If Labor Supply Might Slow Housing’s Recovery

Fannie Mae foresees a 1-million-worker shortage, vis-a-vis construction demand, by 2016.

New-home construction is expected to get back to a “normal” level of 1.6 million starts per year by 2016. If the industry reaches that plateau again, it is also expected to create an estimated 412,000 new residential construction jobs between 2012 and 2016. But that increase would still leave the industry’s construction employment nearly 1 million workers short of the 3.4 million it hit at the peak...

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Background information:

From: MULTIFAMILY EXECUTIVE | Posted on: May 29, 2013

Labor Pains: Worker Squeeze Frustrates Developers

While the price of lumber continues to climb, an equally pressing challenge is throwing a wet blanket on the new construction parade: a labor squeeze.

The return of the single-family market is one factor driving up the price of labor. And with 299,000 multifamily starts slated for this year and another 317,000 in 2014, according to the National Association of Home Builders, good multifamily contractors will be able to pick and choose the jobs they want.

If single-family starts continue to increase on top of that, the price squeeze for labor will only tighten.

“You used to be able to get as many framers as you wanted,” says Marc Padgett, a principal with Summit Contracting Group, a Jacksonville, Fla.–based general contractor. “With one phone call, you got 100 guys. Now, you have to make 50 calls to get 25 guys.”

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From: BUILDER | Posted on: January 16, 2013

Prefab Solution

An antipoverty advocate thinks modest modular homes could help poor families.

For the past 11 years, Maurice Lim Miller has been president and CEO of the Family Independence Initiative (FII), an Oakland, Calif.–based charity that assists low-income families by helping to strengthen their social networks so they can determine their own economic fates.

His organization currently works with around 700 families in six cities, where participants meet on a monthly basis to track each other’s progress on everything from work, school grades, personal savings, and health care. Advancement is rewarded with small amounts of cash donated by the FII, which distributes, on average, about $2,000 per family per year. This system of encouragement has resulted in participants increasing their incomes, lowering their debt and, perhaps most important, gaining more control over their lives.

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From: BUILDER | Posted on: February 6, 2013

If Labor Shortages Persist, Will Builders Seek Construction Alternatives?

Advanced framing, panelization, and modular manufacturing could gain ground.

Kevin Flaherty didn’t have his hopes up. The director of marketing for the modular manufacturer Champion Enterprises, Flaherty expected modest turnouts for the series of seminars on modular construction his company participated in during the International Builders' Show last month, the first one of which was scheduled right after the keynote address by former Disney Co. honcho Michael Eisner.

To Flaherty’s surprise, that session was standing-room only. And its turnout signaled to Flaherty that more builders who are staring at the prospect of field-labor shortages are at least thinking about whether hooking up with a module supplier might make financial and practical sense under current employment and market conditions.

“We think [shortages] are really going to hit the fan in 2014,” if projections about buyer demand and housing starts come to pass, says Flaherty. “So builders need to be ready for it.”

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From: BUILDER 2012
Posted on: April 17, 2012 11:22:00 AM

Modular Builder IBS Quickly Manufacturing National Network

The Pennsylvania-based supplier is convinced more stick-built contractors will start leaning toward its products.

In its quest to become a national modular home manufacturer and distributor, Innovative Building Systems (IBS) is currently in discussions to acquire a competitor and is scouting locations in the Northeast, where it would like to eventually open its sixth factory.

The private equity firm H.I.G. Capital formed IBS after it acquired Camp Hill, Pa.–based Excel Homesin May 2010 and, 10 months later, Elkhart, Ind.–based All American Group. IBS continues to market its product under those brand names, as well as Mod-U-Kraf Homes, the Rocky Mount, Va.–based operation that was owned by All American.

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From: BUILDER | Posted on: October 25, 2012

A High-Style Modular Option for up to 45% Less

A Seattle-based modular builder says it has cracked the code to offering high-end custom homes at nearly half the price of site-built.

At the height of the recession when most builders were losing their shirts, modular home companyStillwater Dwellings  was just getting started.

Based in Seattle, Stillwater is a modular home building company founded in 2008 by two residential architects and a custom home builder. The company’s goal is similar to other modular and prefab companies—to offer homes that are designed better, built faster, and sold cheaper than traditional stick-frame houses—but the company thinks it has found the secret to adding sustainable, modern custom design to that package for a lot less than the conventional method.

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