Southwest Florida area construction companies will need to recruit 2,111 more workers in 2023 in addition to the normal pace of hiring. This forecast is a per capita estimate based on research from Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).
The frenetic pace of recruiting construction workers in SWFL is expected to extend into 2024, with an incremental 1,253 workers needed next year, as well, in addition to the normal pace of hiring.
Overall, the demand for construction workers in America has been increasing at an epic rate.
According to ABC, the construction industry averaged more than 390,000 job openings per month in 2022, the highest level on record, and the industry unemployment rate of 4.6% in 2022 was the second lowest on record, higher than only the 4.5% unemployment rate observed in 2019. In addition, national payroll construction employment was 231,000 higher in December 2022 than in December 2021.
Right now, filling open jobs at any Fort Myers company is a struggle.
A recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Business Owners found that after inflation, the most critical problem facing these businesses is the inability to recruit and retain quality employees.
Right now, says the Federal Reserve, unfilled jobs remain near an all-time with 1.7 openings per unemployed person. As a result, only one person is being hired per every four job openings. To put this dismal hire-to-opening ratio in perspective, ten years ago, there was one hire per every job opening.
Compounding the recruitment woes of Fort Myers's small business owners is the very stubborn quit rate. According to the Federal Reserve, for every ten hires made, seven current employees quit.
So, how can local builders and contractors fill the open jobs at their companies? Most metrics indicate that advertising on Fort Myers Radio may be the best way.