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The Case for Diversifying Construction

1/31/2017 10:00:00 AM

Construction was hit harder than any Minnesota industry during the recession, losing nearly 38,000 jobs between 2006 and 2010. The construction industry has come on strong since then and last year was the fastest-growing labor sector in the state.

But with success comes challenges. A story by Oriane Casale in the latest issue of Trends magazine says construction is now struggling to find workers, despite being an industry with above-average pay and low education requirements.

One sign of the tight labor market for construction: The number of job vacancies in the industry climbed from 710 in the second quarter of 2009 to 6,700 in the second quarter last year, according to a DEED study.

A number of factors are contributing to the shortage of workers, including a wave of retiring baby boomers and a decision by many workers to leave the industry during the recession for better job prospects in other fields.

While the industry traditionally has been dominated by white male workers, the article makes the case that construction companies need to start looking to workers of color and women to fill their labor needs.

A look at the state’s shifting demographics explains why. The white working-age population in Minnesota is “aging out” of the workforce and steadily shrinking. At the same time, the population of people of color, including immigrants, continues to grow, increasing by 27,900 alone between 2013 and 2014.

As the story points out, construction and other industries that aren’t hiring people of color and women will be unable, in most cases, to fill open jobs in coming years.

Read The Case for Diversifying Construction.

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