EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The construction industry across the country is working to meet demands for new homes, roads, businesses, and bridges despite supplies and workforce shortages that have caused challenges and frustrations. 

An analysis from Construction Coverage reports that 60 percent of home builders were facing labor shortages at the beginning of 2021, with the industry lacking more than 300,000 needed workers.

“The home building industry faces a major shortage of skilled workers. This persistent challenge endangers the affordability and availability of housing and hinders a robust economic recovery,” said Ed Brady, president and CEO of the Home Builders Institute (HBI).

Labor shortages have been exacerbated over the last year and a half, but data shows the employee deficit existed prior to the pandemic. For example, long-term issues include a decades-long decline in trade education and disinterest among younger workers, while short-term issues are related to the pandemic.

Despite short and long-term labor shortages, data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports growth in construction employment in certain areas — El Paso among them. 

Researchers ranked metropolitan areas in the U.S. according to the percentage of employment and found that El Paso has had a 19.8 percent increase in construction employment, adding 1,970 construction jobs to the local economy. 

Analysis conducted by the researchers examined BLS data between 2015 to 2020 and calculated change in construction employment then ranked the metro areas based on growth.

Below is a data summary that compares El Paso’s statistics to national averages. 

El Paso averageNational average
Percentage change in construction employment (2015–2020): 19.8%Percentage change in construction employment (2015–2020): 8.4%
Percentage change in total employment (2015–2020): No significant changePercentage change in total employment (2015–2020): 0.9%
Total change in construction employment (2015–2020): 1,970Total change in construction employment (2015–2020): 460,010
Total construction employment (2020): 11,900Total construction employment (2020): 5,937,830
Median annual wage for construction workers (2020): $32,380Median annual wage for construction workers (2020): $48,610
Source: US Census Bureau, US Bureau of Labor Statistics

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