Hurricane Ian left a ton of costly damage across Florida, leaving thousands of residents without power, and in some cases businesses and homes. Now the call is going out to construction companies across the nation to show up in force to rebuild parts of the sunshine state. This will take thousands of workers working long hours. Unfortunately, the construction industry is struggling to fill skilled positions.
The construction industry has over half a million jobs to fill nationwide. While getting skilled workers to Florida is a top priority, the high demand could have cause deeper shortages in other parts of the country.
Hurricane Ian caused billions of dollars in property damage, displacing residents from their homes and claiming more than 100 lives. Destructive floods and high winds tore into buildings, severely damaged bridges, and left certain areas inaccessible.
Damage assessment is ongoing. While some buildings can be fixed, others will likely need to be torn down and replaced.
Because the recovery effort will be so massive, thousands of construction workers will be needed. Construction job openings rose by more than 400,000 in August, which is a 12.4% increase from a year before.
The number of seasonally adjusted employed construction workers in Florida reached 593,800 in August, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was an increase of 3.3% from August 2021.
“We are experiencing a significant shortage of skilled labor not only in Florida but the entire country,” Steve Cona, president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors’ Florida Gulf Coast chapter told Construction Dive. “After a disaster like Hurricane Ian, those numbers will go up significantly.”
Cona said Federal and state financial resources may help bring many workers to Florida, Cona said.
A positive for skilled workers is the fact the supply and demand issues in the sector means higher wages.