Beacon News

Construction Growth in South Florida Leads To Shortage of Skilled Construction Labor

According to data from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, as of August of 2018 there were 14,400 more construction industry jobs in Southeast Florida compared to August of 2017. This included 3,900 more contruction jobs in Broward County, 3,800 in Palm Beach County, and 6,700 in Miami-Dade County.

Statewide, Florida's construction industry employment grew by 39,000 in one year (compared to August of 2017). According to one recent article in the Naples Daily News, seventy-nine percent of Florida construction companies said they are having a hard time filling some or all positions (based on survey data from Associated General Contractors of America).

The lack of construction labor means upward pressure on wages for skilled workers hired by GCs and subcontractors, but also means that schedules may slow down on some projects while companies work harder to recruit. In fact, according to a 2018 survey conducted by the AGC of America, 45% of GC survey respondents in Florida reported that projects are taking longer than anticipated as result of the labor shortage. Also of note, 58% of respondents said they have needed to put higher prices into bids or contracts (as a result of higher labor costs).

Public and private organizations in Florida have been ramping up education and apprentrice development programs to recruit, train, and attract young people into the construction industry. One such program is the "ACE" Mentor Program. ACE stands for "Architecture, Construction, Engineering." The nationwide ACE Mentor organization has eight chapters in Florida. The ACE program connects local industry professionals (mentors) with teams of high school students who are assigned projects related to design and construction. The organization also awards scholarships to students going to college for construction-related majors or skilled trade training and apprenticeship programs.

Below are some photos taken by Beacon staff of some active construction projects going on in South Florida (as of August 2018).

Boca Raton, FL has a number of active construction projects underway.
A luxury residential building under construction in West Palm Beach, FL. "The Bristol" is reported to be the most expensive condominium ever built in Palm Beach County.
Another view of The Bristol Palm Beach ($5 million will buy a 3-BR condo in this luxury building!)
Another view of a mixed-use construction project underway in downtown Boca Raton, FL.
A construction crane looms above a new residential building being built in Palm Beach, Fl.