The construction industry continues to be defined by elevated demand for labor but too few available workers to fill those jobs. That dynamic—acute skilled labor shortages—was present before the pandemic and has been become significantly worse in the three years since covid-19 upended the economy and altered the composition of the U.S. workforce. In the first two months of the pandemic, construction lost about 1.1 million jobs, a decline equivalent to 14.2% of the industry’s workforce. It took nearly two years—until December 2021—for industry employment to return to February 2020 levels. As of January 2023, the most recently available data as of this writing, there are roughly 7.9 million people on construction payrolls. That’s about 3.6% more employees than the industry had at the start of the pandemic.
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