The following article has been modified from Elliot Christensen's "Trends in Construction 2019" article printed in the Minnesota Shopping Center Association's State of Retail Report in their Fall 2019 issue. This is part one of a three part series.
Part two: Construction Costs & Economy Report
Part three: Sustainable Construction Becomes More Commonplace in 2019


It should come as no surprise to anyone that labor shortages, especially shortages of skilled labor in construction, continue to be a challenge. As with other industries, the construction industry has seen significant challenges in recruiting and retaining talent.


The bright side of a growing economy is an increase in construction activity. Sadly, not all trends are positive, and as a result, the number of job vacancies has grown substantially, with nearly a quarter of a million available construction jobs in the United States.


In a recent Star Tribune article, Sean O’Neil, a workforce development coordinator with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, commented, “Minnesota’s construction industry grew 20% from 2014 to 2018. From 2013 to 2017, the latest numbers available, the state’s labor force grew just 2.8%.” Craft Labor Map - Source


Reports currently show 60% of contractors expect to add to their payrolls in the coming year, and yet almost 95% report some level of difficulty finding qualified workers. The availability of qualified labor will continue to decrease as younger generations avoid trade career options and more baby boomers retire. This continued lack of labor is also forcing some contractors to turn down work, while driving project costs up. 


Many companies have been creatively investing in hiring younger staff and training them through mentoring with the more experienced people within the organization. Other perks such as continuing education and incentive programs have been expanded in order to recruit and retain top talent. Organizations like Project Build MN, created by a collaboration of Minnesota agencies and associations, are working to raise awareness of the great careers that are available in the construction industry.


For more on Project Build MN and Shingobee's involvement in their initiatives, read our article: New Organization Working to Combat Construction Labor Shortages


Here are a few more resources on this subject:


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