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.
Our purpose, Building a Better World™, had guided us in the years prior to 2020, but it was uniquely tested with this year’s challenges. As the comfort of home became increasingly important we sought to put our communities and customers first in new ways, serving them with the need for resiliency and safety in mind.Continue Reading
In fire-prone geographies, such as wildland-urban interface (WUI) areas, fire protection for roofs may be a critical part of a comprehensive approach to slowing the spread of fire and fire damage in homes. A fire classification roof system is required in WUI areas to protect your build and clients’ peace of mind—and with the right products, the installation process can be simple. Let’s take a look at fire-resistant roof sheathing and how it can help you approach building better in fire-prone areas.
Bugs in wood siding, whether behind engineered wood siding or in traditional wood products, aren’t just troublesome for homeowners—building professionals must deal with them on the jobsite, during renovations, and as they plan their builds. When clients turn to you for guidance on removing insects, replacing siding or ensuring their new durable siding is protected against bugs, it’s important to know how to address these issues.
2020 was—in a word—unpredictable. In many ways the COVID-19 pandemic defined the year within the building industry, but LP Building Solutions also launched new products, worked toward innovation and established partnerships, all reinforcing the company’s purpose of Building a Better World™. We caught up with several of our leaders to look back on the year, the changes it brought, and the wins we celebrated together