In response to a survey sent by Washington, D.C.-based Construction Labor Research Council (CLRC) to more than 6000 union contractors of all crafts, only one-third of the respondents say that currently there is an ample supply of craft labor for their projects. Spot shortages out-numbered frequent shortages by a two-to-one margin among the remaining two-thirds of respondents. Of the crafts most associated with labor shortages, electricians came in fifth.
According to survey respondents, contractors are devising a variety of strategies to overcome the shortfalls. Almost half the respondents reported a weekly work schedule of more than 40 hours. Two-thirds reported working their crews five days every week, and some schedules of 70 or more hours per week were reported. Most projects are working only one shift, and no three-shift operations were reported. Respondents also reported employing “travelers” and craft workers from other geographic areas despite the possible increased labor costs associated with these methods. Finally, some contractors reported using bonuses or higher wages as incentive to attract sufficient and sufficiently skilled workers.