new home construction

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Even with the unemployment rate at 7.5% in Michigan, employers say they still can’t find the skilled workers they need to fill available jobs.

But other voices question the skills gap, calling it "overblown", even a "myth" and suggesting that it’s really more the fault of the companies.

Lou Glazer is president and co-founder of Michigan Future. He says companies should take the responsibility making jobs more attractive.

“When you look at the package employers have put together to attract people to the industry, it ain’t so great,” says Glazer.

For cyclical industries like manufacturing and construction, when the employment package is not great, the employers likely get a small pool of entrants.

User: Cathy / Flickr

Michigan has a serious labor shortage in home construction which will slow the pace of new home building for at least the next six years.

Usually some 28,000 new homes are built each year in Michigan. This past year, there were just 13,000. Bob Filka, CEO of the Homebuilders Association of Michigan, says this is in part because of a workforce shortage.

That shortage of labor include framers, carpenters, plumbers, and electricians. According to Filka, Michigan lost approximately 60,000 workers in the industry during the downturn. They left the state, retired, or changed careers, and many of them are not coming back to the job in the sector.

hstreetagent

New home construction improved 30% in Michigan last year, compared to the year before.  That's the opposite of a problem, right?

Except......one of the state's two largest utilities, Consumers Energy, wasn't prepared for the growth.

Bob Filka is CEO of the Home Builders Association of Michigan.

He says Consumers had made its plans based on a 5% growth estimate.  The result was the utility did not have enough staff and resources in place to deal with the mini-boom in home building.

hstreetagent

A major union is disputing claims by Michigan’s home builders that there are not enough skilled workers to fill all the jobs in the state’s resurgent construction industry.

New home prices are up in Michigan this year. Building permits are also up.

But the Home Builders Association of Michigan released a survey last month claiming a deep gap between the number of skilled trades workers and the jobs available.

That’s not true, according to Mike Jackson.   He’s the Secretary-Treasurer of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights.

calgaryrealestate.com

Building permits are up by more than a third this year in Michigan.  Home prices are also rising.

These should be great days for Michigan’s homebuilding industry, which nearly ground to a halt during the recession.

But there’s a problem: not enough workers.

A survey finds a third of Michigan homebuilding contractors are having trouble finding enough workers to do the job. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s home builders are optimistic about the year ahead.

The recession walloped Michigan’s home building industry. Many builders went out of business. Others merged and focused on home remodeling.

But a new survey shows Michigan’s home builders are optimistic about getting back into the business of building new homes. They say pent up consumer demand, especially for more expensive homes ($200,000 to $800,000), is pushing up the Michigan Housing Index.

Michigan’s homebuilders are predicting a 39% increase in new home construction this year.

Michigan’s home building industry collapsed during the recession, down to roughly six thousand new homes built in 2009.

This year, they’re hoping to build at least 14 thousand homes.

Bob Filka is the CEO of the Michigan Home Builders Association.

“Its good news, but it’s also all relative,” says Filka,  “In the context of what used to be normal in construction in the state of Michigan, we’re really looking at about half of normal.”

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

There is a growing shortage of new homes in southeast Michigan.     That could be good news to the region’s home builders who have been struggling since before the recession began.

New home construction bottomed out in southeast Michigan in 2009 when few people were in the market for a home, new or not.

Last year, the number of home construction permits tripled, but still demand for new homes outstripped the supply.