By Hank Cowden
With activity in the multifamily housing market picking up steam across the nation, concern about how the construction sector will meet increasing demand for qualified labor is mounting.
All key construction measures for multifamily housing rose by double-digit percentages in 2015, and demand for rentals, which accounts for the largest part of that construction, is expected to remain robust over the next decade, according to The State of the Nation’s Housing Market 2016 published by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. After several years of rapid growth, reports Freddie Mac, the multifamily market is poised to continue to grow in 2017, although at a more moderate pace.
While this trend reflects a strong and steady economy, it also presents an ongoing challenge to the industry: an acute shortage of skilled labor at all levels. A number of factors are contributing to the shortage, including the migration of accomplished workers from the industry during the recession who never returned, a shortage of younger, more technologically savvy workers and the need to replace retiring baby boomers.