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Construction Labor Outlook Report by ConstructConnect and Gordian Finds Balance of Labor Supply and Demand Has Never Been Tighter

January 29, 2024

Data and expert analysis reveal key factors behind construction labor cost increases and provide strategies for how industry can achieve yesterday’s output with today’s workforce

Construction wages rose sharply in the past three years and all market indicators portend that labor will be a long-term constraint on the growth of the construction industry, according to a new report published today.

Gordian, provider of data-driven solutions for all phases of the building lifecycle, collaborated with ConstructConnect to produce a construction labor outlook report, The Great Adaptation: Navigating the New Construction Labor Pool. This report analyzes how the labor force has shifted since the pandemic and provides practical strategies for how organizations can adapt.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the construction labor pool has experienced a seismic shift,” says Sam Giffin, Gordian’s Director of Data Operations and co-author of the report. “Organizations now find themselves hiring a different group of laborers, with different expectations and different skill sets. Navigating these new dynamics against structural headwinds requires careful consideration and cost management.”

Gordian and ConstructConnect explore construction labor market changes in this report and provide data-driven insights explaining what has fueled the labor shortage in the industry. Key findings include:

  • Construction wages rose an average of 20% from 2021 to 2023.
  • Two major changes in construction labor dynamics at the federal level will compound increasing cost structures in 2024 and beyond.
  • Construction trade wages in the continental U.S. have been rising at a much higher rate in traditionally low-cost areas.
  • As a result of the economy’s initial COVID shutdown in early 2020, over one million Baby Boomers, many with decades of work experience, permanently left the workforce.

The report contains cutting-edge data and expert analysis of construction labor costs, changes to prevailing wage calculations, the rise of mega-projects, the new balance of labor supply and demand and changing workforce demographics. In addition to a thorough breakdown of the implications and impact of these various factors, the report also provides five specific strategies for how businesses can adapt to these new construction labor dynamics.

“America’s demographic picture makes clear that labor will be a long-term constraint on the growth of the construction industry,” says Michael Guckes, Senior Economist for ConstructConnect and co-author of the report. “Although regulatory and environmental impact concerns may increase overall construction costs, firms that emphatically embrace and implement best-in-class recruiting, training and jobsite safety practices will be in a better position to control costs and maintain work product quality in the future.”

Click here to read and download a copy of the report.

 

About ConstructConnect

ConstructConnect (constructconnect.com) is a leading provider of commercial construction information and technology solutions and is committed to transforming the way the construction industry does business by providing its customers with the tools, information and connections needed to drive their success.