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Labor shortages impede U.S. home construction

U.S. in need of 2.2 million construction workers
U.S. in need of 2.2 million construction work... 02:01

Boise, Idaho — The nationwide shortage of homes for sale is being driven, in part, by a severe shortage of builders. More than 2 million new construction workers are needed over the next three years to meet demand, according to industry experts. 

The industry says it now has up to 430,000 open construction jobs and will need another 61,000 new hires every month for the foreseeable future. 

"We need to place 740,000 people into the industry a year for the next three years," said Ed Brady, the CEO of Home Builders Institute. "That's at crisis levels. I don't know how we're going to catch up." 

The labor shortage began in 2008 during the Great Recession. Older tradespeople kept retiring and fewer young people want to work with their hands. Then, training programs took a hit during the pandemic. 

"It's not so much us telling the contractor when they need to show up. It's them saying, 'This is when I can show up,'" said developer Joe Atalla, who builds houses around Boise, Idaho. 

But, Atalla said, "the narrative is changing." 

"Skilled trade jobs provide a great living and college isn't really for everybody," he said. 

That's the industry's hope. But for now, labor costs more so houses cost more. 

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