- Economists have a logical enough question: How can homebuilders be short of labor if there are workers who say they cannot find work?
- The answer appears to lie in trying to paint a national picture that doesn't show local labor problems, and in what type of labor is missing.
- A recent National Association of Home Builders survey found 46% of members said they had labor-supply problems, but those focused most on framers and carpenters, not all trades, and on subcontractors, who are often self-employed and might not even show up in labor statistics as workers or employers.
The percentage of builders reporting problems getting the workers they need has been rising since 2012. The current 46% is higher than the percentage in the years before the economic collapse, but it is not as high as it was from 1996 to 2000, when economic growth was stronger than it is now. The bottom line may lie in what a Moody's Analytics housing economist said: "Aggregate numbers miss nuances in the home building industry."