At Home in Berks August 2017 - 26

Current
NEWS &
events

With Shortages of
Construction Sector
Workers, Opportunity Awaits

A lack of workers in the construction sector is a problem nationwide,
including in Berks County. As the
housing market continues to recover
from the nosedive it experienced
during the 2008-09 recession, and
infrastructure needs booming, it has
become clear that one aspect of the
construction sector has not come back -
its workers.
The worker shortage started getting attention in
2012, as construction activity increased and the unemployment rate went down. According to an annual
labor shortage study published by the National Association
of Home Builders, an increasing number of builders have reported shortages every year since then.
In 2012, 21 percent of builders reported either some shortage or
a serious shortage of workers. That percentage increased to 46
percent in 2014, 52 percent in 2015, and 56 percent in 2016.
The construction sector in Berks County is not immune to these
worker shortages, which is bad news for employers. The good
news for Berks County residents, however, is that many of these
jobs come with very good salaries, great career paths, including
future entrepreneurial pursuits, and ample training and education opportunities within our community. Most construction-related jobs offer better than average income opportunities without
the expense and time commitment associated with college
educations so you could be earning real, livable wages sooner
without the debt.
If you are considering a career change, have children looking for
rewarding vocations, or know someone who needs good career
guidance, Berks County offers many workforce education and
training programs. You can start your new path by exploring local opportunities at the Berks County Home Builders Association,
the Berks Career & Technology Centers, the Reading-Muhlenberg Career & Technology Center, Reading Area Community
College, the United Labor Council of Reading & Berks County,
CareerLink of Berks County, and, directly, with many of the larger
construction-related companies.
26

AT HOME IN BERKs August 2017

You can get a better understanding of the needs of employers
and opportunities for prospective employees by reading the
report below, provided by the Berks County Workforce Development Board.

Construction Sector Needs
The construction industry in Berks County was severely impacted by the 2008-09 recession with new home construction
bottoming out in 2011. The industry has been slower than other
major industry sectors in the MSA to recover but recent data
indicates that the housing market is turning the corner and
has entered an upward trend. With a 5% share of the Reading
MSA Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a recent Reading Eagle
economic outlook reports construction industry output increased
by 1.4% from 2014 to 2015.
By the beginning of 2017, the construction industry recovered to
approximately 85% of its pre-recession employment. In the period 2012Q1 through 2017Q1, the construction industry in Berks
County increased employment by 854 jobs. This represents an
average annual percentage change in employment of 1.9% or



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of At Home in Berks August 2017

At Home in Berks August 2017 - 1
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