According to a study by the Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk, more than three-fourths of Texas construction firms are having trouble finding workers, reflecting a nationwide trend that is causing delays and raising construction prices. Construction employment in the Austin-Round Rock metro area has jumped by more than 7% over the past year.
Jon Hockenyos, president of Austin economic consulting firm TXP Inc. says, "My sense is that (the time frame for completing Austin construction projects) is just about as bad at it has ever been, and I have been here since the mid 1980s,” Hockenyos believes the work shortage has been exacerbated by a strong local economy that's attracting thousands of new residents, and low interest rates.
General contractors in Texas say the problem has gotten worse in the past year especially when trying to attract and hold onto pipe-layers, electricians, bricklayers, sheet metal workers, cement masons, roofers and plumbers. More than half of construction firms around the state say they've lost people to poaching by other construction firms.
As a result, almost 70 percent of Texas companies said they have increased pay in the past year to try to retain or attract workers. About 30 percent said they have provided bonuses. Almost half of the companies surveyed in Texas said they don’t anticipate an easing of the labor shortages over the next 12 months. In addition, 37 percent say they expect shortages of hourly craft laborers to worsen.