According to the latest American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, about 4 million people now work in residential construction (both single-family and multifamily) – down from the 5 million who were employed just before the Great Recession. Although the workforce has shrunk by 20 percent nationwide, some parts of the country are experiencing less pain than others. Similarly, light commercial construction has been reportedly back on the rise post-Recession, with IBISWorld reporting that the recovery started just before 2014 and continuing steadily through 2019 (source).
As builders report that cost and availability of skilled labor is their top challenge, smart hiring and retention practices can help reduce that burden. In a recent blog post titled “Staffing Up: How Contractors Can Cope With the Labor Shortage,” LP shared a list of seven ways to attract younger job candidates to the construction industry. Couple that information with “Staffing Up: Tips to Retain Your Employees” for ways to keep skilled employees on staff.
The Impact of Second/Vacation Homes on Residential Construction Labor
California, our most populous state, has the most residential construction workers. According to a study by the NAHB, nearly 600,000 Californians work in residential construction, representing over 3 percent of the state’s labor force. Florida ranks second, mainly due to its large stock of vacation and seasonal homes.
Some Mountain states likewise benefit from a large number of vacation homes. For example, Idaho (with a population of just 1.75 million) nevertheless has a lot of residential construction workers – 4.6 percent of the state’s labor force. Mississippi, which is nearly twice as populous as Idaho but has far fewer vacation homes, has one of the nation’s lowest number of residential construction workers. The worker shortage is most severe in northern New Mexico and rural portions of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.
“It’s hard to find qualified construction workers in our part of Louisiana – like those who know how to install engineered wood siding,” says Chad Futch, owner of KEH Builders in Pineville, Louisiana and a LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding user. “It’s also very difficult to retain qualified people because they come and go so fast.”
As seasoned workers retire and get replaced by less experienced ones, builders are increasingly choosing building products like engineered wood siding that are designed for easier installation. And there are now wall assemblies that are much lighter and easier to install than traditional assemblies using shaft wall liner. LP supports its users in building efficiency through various educational avenues, including onsite trainings and virtual guides. For example, the LP® FlameBlock® videos illustrate how to install the fire-rated sheathing in a variety of code-approved assemblies for fire resistance.
As a leader in building solutions, LP Structural Solutions is consistently moving in the direction of greater resiliency. Each innovative building solution is viewed through that lens, as well as how it can help achieve LP’s overall goal of Building a Better World™. But why this direction? What led LP to focus on resilience in construction? Craig Miles, Director of OSB Sales & Marketing, explores how past trends inform LP’s work on modern building techniques today.Continue Reading
Coming off an unprecedented year, the busiest season for selling siding is almost underway! COVID-19 is still a significant consideration as you attempt to move forward with your siding business while taking learnings and challenges from the pandemic into consideration. We talked with Erik Perkins of Perkins Builder Brothers to get insight straight from the jobsite about COVID-19’s impact, tips for prepping for a new season, and more. Read on to see how LP can support you with one of the most durable siding options out there as your business ramps up!
Recently, homes are trending toward smaller, more compact sizes. Using extra-tall, cathedral or vaulted ceilings can create the illusion of a larger living space. But how do you avoid installation problems when insulating a cathedral or vaulted ceiling? How do you avoid problems when insulating an open ceiling?
When it comes to installing sub-flooring, one concern rises to the top for many professionals: rain. No matter your geographical area, dealing with some amount of water in sub-floor panels during the installation process is inevitable. That’s why it’s important to know how to protect the sub-floor during construction and how to prevent water pooling on sub-floor panels.