How the Trade Labor and Materials Shortage has Impacted Renovations During Covid-19 – Forbes Advisor – Forbes

How the Trade Labor and Materials Shortage has Impacted Renovations During Covid-19 – Forbes Advisor – Forbes

Robert Johnson of Manchester, Connecticut was faced with the tough decision between renovating his home or keeping his business alive in 2020. When it came down to it, Johnson chose his business.

“Remodeling houses is my forte,” said Johnson, “As a woodworker, people are surprised to learn that I haven’t been able to push through my own home’s renovations this year. But I have a good reason not to force it yet.”

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Like Johnson, many Americans have found that while we now have more time to think about improving our homes, a trade labor shortage that has been impacting the industry for several years is making home renovations take longer to complete (or become simply impossible to complete altogether) and cost more money than usual.

Since around 2018, the United States has seen a shortage of tradespeople available to complete projects like kitchen remodels, bathroom remodels, flooring and electrical work. In addition to this, the supplies that they need to complete their jobs—including wood and metal–aren’t available due to a shortage of materials, created as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, so supply prices are skyrocketing.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a drastic increase in the price of lumber from 2018 to 2021.

In addition to this, there simply aren’t enough tradespeople available to get work done at the rate at which the demand needs it to be completed. According to the National Electrical Contractors Association, 7,000 electricians join the field each year, but 10,000 retire.

As long as we continue down this road where there are more open positions in the trades than there are workers to fill them, we can expect to see increased prices and longer wait times for home improvement projects.

According to Adecco, the world’s second-largest human resources provider and temporary staffing firm, an estimated 31 million baby boomers who were working in the skilled trades were expected to retire by 2020 and not be replaced.

In a time like now where home improvement demand is up but availability for supplies and the number of labor workers are down, what does this mean for homeowners who are looking to do renovations on their homes?

What Caused The Shortage?

Number of Tradespeople Is Dwindling

Demand for labor is high and supply is low.

Bill Darcy, the CEO of the National Kitchen and Bath Association, or NKBA, says the labor shortage is not new. “Long before Covid-19, the labor shortage has been there, and even for me at 15 years at NKBA, I can tell you that members have been telling me about their worries [when it comes to finding contractors to do work],” he says.

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Why is this? To start, many tradespeople are nearing the age of retirement, and there aren’t enough newcomers entering the trade industry to take their places. According to Darcy, the average age of an electrician or plumber is just shy of 60 years old, …….


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