Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Modular Housing Industry Production Workers Harder to Find Than Ever Before

Modular home factories throughout the country are struggling to find workers, and it's causing major problems: Labor costs are rising, homes are taking longer to complete and buyers are facing higher prices.

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I recently talked with a small factory owner that had to raise his average wage for new production line labor to $19.50 an hour and all his existing production staff went to $22.00. He said those wages plus the cost increases from Harvey and Irma have jumped his sq ft price $11.00 in just the past 30 days.

Meeting with a local builder brought even worse news. She needs an additional 3 carpenters for a house that just broke ground. When she placed a classified ad paying $20.00 an hour she got no responses.

"We are now at the point that there is a serious shortage of workers," said Jerry Howard, CEO of the National Association of Home Builders. "It's a real problem that ripples throughout the home-building process that ultimately costs the consumer."

When the housing market collapsed nearly a decade ago, home construction came to a screeching halt, leaving many workers in the field without jobs.

Workers fled to other industries or other countries, and many haven't come back. Some took jobs in the manufacturing and auto industries, while others found work in the energy sector.

"Simply, they were getting any work they could and had to go into other sectors to find ways to put food on the table," said Howard.

A PA factory owner is worried about his production capacity dropping because he can’t find enough new production line workers. Running at capacity for his factory today means 14 floors a week compared to 17 floors a week just a year ago.

My local Aldi Supermarket is advertising for full time positions at $12.50 an hour and shift managers for $16.50 just for running cash register and stocking shelves in an air conditioned store. It also includes full medical, dental, vacation and sick pay.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to get younger people interested in production line work. In fact I get very few younger people even applying.

It's almost as if working in a factory is a bad thing. I just don't understand.