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Construction worker shortage has impact on Florida firms

Since the recession, construction companies in Miami, Florida, may have struggled due to financial problems within the industry. Now, according to a 2015 survey by the Associated General Contractors of America, construction firms are reporting a new issue. Instead of a shortage of work, they are facing a shortage of skilled workers.

Florida firms that participated in this survey indicated that they plan to hire more hourly craft professionals over the next 12 months, but that they are currently having trouble finding qualified construction workers for these positions. Carpenter and concrete worker jobs are the most difficult for employers to fill, according to the participants, and 38 percent reported that they are losing these professionals to other local firms. Sixty-two percent say they do not expect the situation to improve over the next 12 months, and subcontractors are filling in the gaps for 46 percent of the firms responding.

The worker shortage has affected these companies financially, with 52 percent increasing the rate of pay they offer to craft professionals. Many respondents also stated that they pay more overtime and bonuses, and have increased the benefits they offer. Another serious effect of the shortage is the impact it has had on jobsite safety. Twenty-seven percent of the firms participating experienced more reportable injuries and illnesses. Fifteen percent have had more workers’ compensation claims, and another 15 percent said inspection reports have identified a higher number of hazards on the jobsite.

AGCA officials believe that the answer to the shortage lies in education, and programs that direct students toward construction as a successful career option.

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