For decades, the construction industry here in Florida offered workers a certain level of job security thanks to a consistent demand for new residential and commercial real estate.
When the recession hit, however, a job in the Sunshine State's construction industry offered anything but security, as building stopped and real estate development essentially ground to a halt.
Fast forward to the present, however, and things are decidedly different, as large-scale commercial and residential real estate development has resumed throughout the state resulting in a somewhat unprecedented problem.
If you don't believe it, consider that data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that Florida added 26,500 construction jobs over the last 12 months, trailing only California. Statistics also reveal that 4,800 construction jobs were added in July alone, good for first in the nation, and that wages for construction workers were 2.6 percent annually.
What then could possibly be wrong in the midst of all this prosperity?
According to experts, the primary problem facing many builders is the dearth of construction workers, specifically skilled laborers like drywall finishers, electricians and plumbers. Indeed, the worker shortage is so severe that the average price of a new home in Florida has jumped by an average of 5.7 percent over the last year.
Why is there such a shortage of skilled labor in Florida?
According to experts, the problem with the state's undersized construction workforce dates back to the recession, as many workers packed up and left for places like Texas and North Dakota, where there was actually work to be found.
It will be interesting to see if the situation improves over the coming year as the higher wages and more favorable weather conditions may be enough of an incentive for some of these workers to return.
Stay tuned for updates.
Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you have any questions or concerns related to a construction law issue.