By John Suayan
The construction industry in Texas and across the U.S. is struggling to find enough qualified workers, a study by the Associated General Contractors of America says.
The report showed that 80 percent of construction firms nationwide struggle to hire craft workers, with 84 percent of Texas firms stating that they need more manpower.
AGC Chief Executive Officer Stephen E. Sandherr stated that workforce shortages pose a very significant threat to the construction sector.
“Workforce shortages remain one of the single most significant threats to the construction industry,” Sandherr said. “However, construction labor shortages are a challenge that can be fixed, and this association will continue to do everything in its power to make sure that happens.”
Citing Texas’s current unemployment rate of 3.4 percent, the AGC said there are more job vacancies than job applicants.
One potential solution is immigration reform that allows more immigrants to get work visas. Undocumented immigrants reportedly make up about half of the state’s construction workers.
Norman Adams with Texas GOP Vote suggested that Congress “pass sensible immigration policy that secures the border and creates a currently non-existent method to ID and tax undocumented immigrants.”
“The process must require undocumented workers to provide a positive ID, pass a criminal background check, agree to work only for employers that deduct and match taxes, and agree to go to the “back of the line” position to apply for citizenship,” Adams said.