Shortage of Rough Carpenters Climbs to Record High

Three-fourths of the total cost of building a typical home goes to subcontractors. So as they get harder to find, it’s getting especially hard for projects to stay on schedule and on budget.

Single-family builders who responded to a recent NAHB survey listed which workers they are struggling the most to find. Topping the list: shortages of rough carpenters were reported by 90% of builders — the highest-ever portion for any occupation in residential construction in the survey’s history.

NAHB economist Paul Emrath wrote about the findings in Eye On Housing and offered possible explanations for the severe shortage of subcontractors: One is that workers who were laid off during the housing downturn and subsequently started their own businesses have since returned to work for larger companies.

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