Report: Construction workers putting in longer hours, industry hiring down
- U.S. construction companies this year hired fewer workers than they did in 2016, and their existing employees are working longer hours, according to TSheets.
- TSheets analyzed payroll data from 12,000 construction companies and found that employees are working a 39.6-hour week, compared with 39.2 hours in 2016 and 38.4 hours in 2015. Companies using TSheets' services grew their workforces by only 1.15% between January and November of this year, down from 1.52% in 2016. Only 1% of the workers TSheets tracks worked overtime, but those who did put in nearly 10 extra hours a week.
- The lack of an expanding workforce raises productivity concerns, TSheets said. The company points to an analysis by The Economist that found the construction industry is only half as productive today as it was in the 1960s and hesitant to invest in the technology available to it because of the volatile nature of construction.
Construction productivity is a national and global concern. According to a McKinsey Global Institute report released earlier this year, the U.S. construction industry has failed to keep up with the U.S. compounded annual business productivity growth rate of 1.76%. Further, it has seen a productivity decline of 1.04% since 1995. McKinsey also found that the global productivity growth rate is 2.8%, but determined that the worldwide construction industry is less than half of that figure. The organization said that the U.S. construction industry will not be able to support an aggressive infrastructure program or significantly add to the nation's housing stock without coming up with ways to be more productive.
In 2015, a World Economic Forum study rang a similar warning bell about the construction industry's lack of productivity. The group said that if the industry could ramp up productivity and save just 1% of costs, it would pay off in $100 billion of savings every year.
One of the ways the industry has tried to increase productivity is through prefabrication and offsite construction. Gaston Electrical principal Bill Weber told Construction Dive earlier this year that the company reduced its labor requirements on some jobs by 50% using prefabrication MEP racks, which are 20- to 30-foot panels that are pre-fitted with ductwork, piping and raceways. Gaston owns a prefab facility and collaborates with other subcontractors during production.
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