Florida's shortage of construction workers continues, with 61 percent of contractors saying they're having trouble filling skilled-worker positions, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Associated General Contractors of America.
The shortage has improved slightly, down from 100 percent of contractors reporting issues hiring skilled workers last year.
Among the factors that are helping: Higher pay and the return of some workers to the state from the sagging oil industry elsewhere, he said.
"Word has gone out about the construction boom in Florida," said Brian Turmail, spokesman for Associated General Contractors in Arlington, Va.
Still, big shortages remain in heavy equipment operators, concrete workers, carpenters, mechanics and truck drivers, the report said.
The shortage extends to supervisors and project managers, with 68 percent of Florida contractors saying they're having problems filling salaried positions in the field.
"We've struggled. We've adapted," said Ron Yuter, vice president for Ansca Homes in Boynton Beach, about the shortage of skilled construction workers.
He said Ansca Homes now hires two to three contractors for each building element, such as air conditioning, in order to have enough workers to keep up with home sales at its Villaggio Reserve project, a 55-and-older community west of Delray Beach.
Yuter said the only problem with that is keeping track of which contractor has worked on which home: If there's a problem down the road, they want to know where to call.
To attract and retain skilled workers, 71 percent of Florida's construction firms have raised their base hourly pay, with 29 percent providing raises and bonuses, according to the survey. And 80 percent said they expect their need for skilled workers to grow as their work expands over the next 12 months.
Florida is among the states adding a high number of construction jobs. In July, Florida added 26,400 jobs, an increase of 6.1 percent over a year ago, according to state labor data.
In South Florida, the Associated Builders and Contractors in Coconut Creek has been trying to fill shortages by working with employers to sponsor apprentice programs. The group is operating five apprentice or pre-apprentice programs in the state.
- Peter Dyga, president of Associated Builders' Florida East Coast Chapter, said he expects to have as many as 750 apprentices in training as a result of the programs.
Nationally, 69 percent of contractors surveyed said they're having trouble filling skilled-worker positions.
Stephen Sandherr, CEO of Associated General Contractors, said the impact of the industry shortage of skilled workers, as well as the higher pay to attract workers, is that contractors are likely "to slow scheduled work and not to bid on projects, inflating the cost of construction."
The Associated General Contractors of America conducted the survey of its members in June through August. More than 1,450 individuals completed the survey.
Copyright © 2016 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Marcia Heroux Pounds, South Florida Sun Sentinel. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency LLC.