Now that construction activity is starting to ramp up again following the COVID-19 pandemic, a familiar issue is facing the industry: labor shortages.

Total hires and job openings within the industry as of Dec. 31, 2020 were down slightly from 2019 before the pandemic forced shutdowns and industry layoffs. The 2020 Marcum JOLTS Analysis showed that the number of job openings was equal to 2.6 percent of available construction jobs, meaning there were 195,000 unfilled positions.

The report’s authors wrote, “When the pandemic began, some thought (and hoped) that the massive job losses observed in March and April would mitigate the skilled labor shortages that have frustrated construction firms for years. That simply hasn’t happened to any meaningful degree.”

Thirteen thousand more workers quit their construction jobs than those who were laid off or discharged by their employers as of December 31.

Wages in the employees’ market are also rising; average hourly earnings for construction employees reached their highest level on record: $32.11 in January 2021. Moreover, average weekly hours worked rose to peak level since 2019’s third quarter.

“This is what might be expected from a strong economy operating under normal circumstances, not one facing a lingering pandemic and elevated unemployment,” the report said.

Certain regions are concentrated areas for job openings within the industry. “Parts of the U.S. like the Southeast, Texas, Colorado, and segments of the Mid-Atlantic region have surging residential marketplaces and reasonably stable levels of nonresidential activity. Other areas, like the Northeast and certain parts of the Midwest, where much of the industry’s job losses have occurred and where population has been stagnant or declining for years, are home to an abundance of unemployed construction workers,” the report stated. 

As the pandemic continues to subside, there are three things to watch according to the report:

  1. Whether construction workers who quit/laid off will return
  2. Whether nonresidential construction will rebound like the residential sector
  3. Whether public construction will continue

For all of your electrical construction needs, contact the experts at J&P electrical today.

J&P Electrical is a full-service electrical equipment company. At J&P, we supply contractors, end-users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We also purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers. Call us at 877-844-5514 or visit us at

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