When can you start?

Challenges surrounding skilled labor shortages presently in the forest industry, particularly in B.C. and Alberta, are well-known. Now a new report in The New York Times tells us that after six years of declining construction, home builders south of the border are confronted with exactly the same kind of skilled labor constraints. In California, many workers in the immigrant-heavy industry have left the area.  And just like many Canadian workers who left the forest for the oil patch in recent years, the energy boom in Texas has reportedly been a similarly lucrative job magnet. Still others who chose not to move away “often switched to medical data entry, U.P.S. delivery services, or anything else that they could find. Or they filed for disability and dropped out the labor force altogether.”

Interestingly, builders themselves are now experiencing bottlenecks in surprising places brought about by – you guessed it – labor shortages: “’You walk into the permit office, and it’s like a ghost town in there,’ said Michael Haemmig, president of Haemmig Construction in Nevada City, Calif., about an hour north of Sacramento. He says local governments were caught off-guard by the suddenly renewed interest in building and do not have enough people in place to handle the paperwork. ‘This being California, we have more regulations and permits than ever, and it takes more time to get each permit approved,’ he said.”
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“If we could build 500 houses right now, could we sell them? Possibly, but I don’t want to sell all my lots that I’ve held on to forever and have to give them away at these prices. We lost money for a lot of years, and I’d like to make some money for a change. I’m not building because I need the practice.” – Harry Elliott III, Elliott Homes

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