Massive Shortage of Construction Workers Looms

Posted by Duane Duggan on Tuesday, July 25th, 2017 at 1:59pm.

Colorado’s booming construction industry can’t find workers fast enough.

Ten years after construction workers were laid off in droves during the 2007-2009 great recession, the situation has flipped. Today, Colorado is faced with a full-on population boom moving full steam ahead, which is fueling a fast real estate market and lack of supply of housing. Skilled craftsman are needed in droves to build those houses and highways.

According to a report by a coalition of Colorado specialty contractors known as the MEP Alliance, there will be more than 56,000 new constructions jobs by 2025 –- a 38 percent increase over today. Over 42,000 of the jobs will be in specialty trades, and 50% of these jobs will be added by 2018.

Retiring baby boomers will add another 40,000 job vacancies, economists believe. The combination will total 96,000 job vacancies in the construction trades, most in subcontractors of specialty trades.

Experts foresee that the situation isn’t likely to improve. Construction leaders are addressing what they consider to be a crisis by teaming up to offer training at boot camp sessions at the Colorado Homebuilding Academy. For those learning the trade, the outlook is good: employers are ready and waiting for them to get started.

The labor shortage resulted from the collision of forces: record low unemployment, an aging workforce, layoffs of construction workers during the Great Recession of 2008-09, a lack of affordable housing, and an influx of new residents to the state.

Wages for construction workers are above average. In 2015, average annual wages are reported to be $55,347– 1.5 percent higher than the average annual income for all private industries. Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing contractors earned an even higher wage: $55,631. A recent survey conducted at Colorado State University determined the average starting salary for construction management students graduating in May 2016 was $61,000.

Data reported is from the fifth annual report outlining the economic impact of the construction industry on the state of Colorado. The report is product by the MEP alliance, which is made up of the Colorado Association of Mechanical & Plumbing Contractors (CAMPC), the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Colorado Chapter (SMACNA).

Read the full report here

About Duane Duggan: Duane Duggan has been a Realtor® for RE/MAX of Boulder in Colorado since 1982 and has facilitated over 2,500 transactions over his career, the vast majority from repeat and referred clients. He has been awarded two of the highest honors bestowed by RE/MAX International: the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Circle of Legends Award. Living the life of a Realtor and being immersed in real estate led to the inception of his book, REALTOR® for Life. Also see his video podcasts about real estate topics on RE/MAX of Boulder’s YouTube channel.

For questions, email Duane at or call 303-441-5611


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