Essentially, there is a shortage of trade workers as the demand for construction is still high. To paint the picture, according to the U.S Census Bureau, in 2016, the total construction spending increased by 6.5% from 2015. Year over year growth demands more skilled women and tradesmen, but these positions are the ones that contracting firms have a challenge in filling. This has made the employment in construction to operate 10% below peak numbers; this is according to the chief economist of Associate General Constructors (AGC), Ken Simonsen.
Market appetite for construction in 2018
There is a lot of consolation for construction firms that demand in new-housing starts is on a low, even though that is a relative measure that should be monitored. The double digits we have been experiencing in the past will not be seen at the start of the year 2018.
Building Solutions market intelligence forecasts that the residential construction will see a 6% increase year over year. The non-residential construction is expected to have strong institutional growth with public and education buildings growing at 6%. On the commercial construction, we expect to see a growth of 2%, the offices leading with 6%. In general, nonresidential construction is expected to grow at 4%, non-building at 4%, considering the rising construction of 6% in bridges and roads.
On the other side, the relatively slow market for new starts is not bad for the construction business. For instance, a storm that leaves dozens of reconstruction to be done allows construction firms to pick up these projects. This creates a demand in areas such as Florida, Puerto Rico and Texas. The challenge that is in this construction lies in getting skilled construction workers, which is a challenge that has been noticed by the federal government.
Getting skilled construction workers can make it possible for the Gulf region to be reconstructed quickly and efficiently. The nation has a task of addressing these workforce issues to stimulate the economy.
In 2018, we are going to see an increasing demand for project management managers who can fill construction labor gaps. As of December 2017, there were more than 1,500 construction management positions; this shows that firms are strategizing on the demands of construction.
Construction is an extremely dangerous profession; this is supported by the 924 deaths recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015. This statistic was among the highest in any field, following the transport industry that had 1,031 deaths.
To counter these high rates of death, technology is being used in different ways. Technology is enabling project managers to mitigate safety risks. For instance, Virtual reality simulators are being used to train workers on the job before they are approved to work on the heavy equipment. Drones are also being used to conduct inspections and help workers to avoid risky areas. There are also software options that make work easier and efficient. For instance, we have iAuditor which is devoted to safety audits and site inspections, and FallSafety Pro that detects falls, which the system uses to send alerts to emergency contacts.
The number of software options for the construction industry is growing very fast. The goals and objectives of construction are growing and taking new heights as the years go by, thanks to tech innovations that help in simpler management of construction projects.