Construction labor has long faced a generational challenge in finding enough skilled workers.

The second half of 2022 may see long-term problems like inflation, an aging workforce, and persistent shortages drive up costs, wages, and the overall price of building anything in the United States. A significant federal infrastructure bill has been added to the sector’s demands, with $550B in approved spending requiring an estimated 3.2 million new workers. There are roughly half a million job openings in the industry, per April projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, higher than the previous high of 438,000 in April 2019. But that need is unlikely to be met by a rapidly aging workforce. Data from the St. Louis Fed shows wages overall have struggled to keep up with inflation, so the modest gains over the last year have not increased spending power as much as workers would like.

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