WASHINGTON, D.C., April 3
—Eighty-eight percent of Florida construction firms plan to increase hiring over the next six months and 84 percent anticipate experiencing more difficulty finding appropriately skilled labor, according to a report released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Florida. The inaugural Florida Contractor Confidence Index (Florida CCI) showed a statewide confidence reading for improving sales of 81, indicating the typical Florida contractor expects to be much busier in 2017.
The Florida CCI is a diffusion index intended to supply stakeholders in the state with information regarding contractor perceptions of staffing needs, worker availability and sales expectations. The index also tracks changes in workforce development among contractors over the last year. Readings above 50 indicate growth or improvement, while readings below 50 are unfavorable.
“Florida has been among the nation’s most active construction markets in recent quarters, and the staffing level reading of 78 anticipates contractors will hire more aggressively this year,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “They also anticipate struggling mightily with a dearth of worker availability, with the state CCI at 20 despite ramping up workforce investment aggressively over the last year (also at 78).
“According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida managed to add nearly 13,000 construction workers during the first two months of 2017 alone,” said Basu. “Worker availability will be most challenging in Miami and Orlando, which are the two markets that are also leading the state in terms of overall employment growth.”
“There can be no doubt that business is thriving for Florida ABC members, both general and subcontractors, in the commercial and industrial sectors,” said ABC of Florida 2017 Chair Mary Tappouni, president of Breaking Ground Contracting in Jacksonville. “Yet, contractors’ concerns about the inadequate number of workers entering the construction industry—despite the availability of high-paying jobs—could limit industry growth.
“Contractors are doing their part to develop their workforce,” said Tappouni. “However, potential job seekers and the state’s economy would both benefit from additional efforts to attract talent into the construction industry and ensure that talent has access to all available training programs, including registered apprenticeship and craft training programs.”