A picture of an interior of a home under construction, showing wood beams and initial walls.

© Dana Neely - Stone / Getty Images

Builders Say Labor Shortages at Record Highs

November 17, 2021

A record number of home builders are reporting a shortage of workers such as carpenters, painters, and electricians, the National Association of Home Builders reports. The shortages come at a time when demand is increasing for new homes. Builders are struggling to meet demand and faced with both surging prices for materials and shortages of lots.

The share of builders reporting a shortage of labor reached a record high of 76% in October, well above the previous peak of 67% that was set at the end of the 1990s, the NAHB reports. 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, the 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), the survey shows.

At a time when home improvement demand is surging, remodelers also are reporting extreme labor shortages. More than 55% of remodelers reported a shortage in all the same 16 trades.

A bar chart showing the percentage of various professions of builders and remodelers reporting labor shortages.

 

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