Contractors struggling to find workforce, but demand for work keeps growing

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Pasoans are remodeling bathrooms, kitchens and backyards, but construction companies are struggling to keep up with the demand.

Ted Milliken, president of Milliken Construction, said it has been hard to find qualified employees and fulfill the current demand.

He said more people are looking for contractors to work on their home as they have been spending more time indoors or in their backyards.

The biggest issue he is now facing is getting work done on time, but even with open positions at the company, he is seeing little to no applications for the jobs.

He said he believes some people are afraid of catching COVID-19 and spreading it to their family, but some have other reasons.

“There’s a lot of people who take advantage of the system, quite honestly, and if they’re getting paid to stay at home they have no reason to go to work,” he explained.

Another issue he pointed out was the price of construction material has gone up during the pandemic.

“You look at the oil prices, all you have to do is see how much they charge you for the gallon of gas right now, petroleum, plywood. And you see all the fires that are taking place in California and Ruidoso,” said Milliken.

From his experience, customers have mostly been understanding of the delays. He suggested honest communication as a way of helping mitigate the issues that occur.

Milliken Construction is still hiring subcontractors and skilled construction workers. He is hoping to soon fill the available positions and get work back on track.

“Will that get better in the near future? I certainly hope so. It’s difficult trying to run a business and do it properly without having the proper help in hand,” he concluded.

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