Industrial Staffing Report: Dec. 20, 2018

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Growth in skilled trades staffing

Revenue appears to be growing for staffing firms providing skilled trades workers, according to several indicators, including our recent US Skilled Trades Staffing Survey. Median revenue was up 13% year over year in the first half of 2018 according to our sampling of eight staffing firms that generated a combined $522 million in annualized skilled trades staffing revenue. Selected findings from this survey are available to our corporate members here.

The job categories most supplied included electricians, welders and carpenters, according to our survey. This result is consistent with data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics that showed significant temporary help agency employment of electricians (9,400 workers), welders (13,000 workers) and carpenters (7,900 workers) for a given pay period in 2016. More details on the number of temporary agency workers by occupation can be found in our Staffing Occupational Markets Guidebook.

As with other parts of the staffing industry at this point in the economic cycle, the challenge of finding qualified candidates appears to be considerable. The graph below shows average recruiting difficulty by occupation on a five-point scale with five meaning extremely difficult, as reported in our Skilled Trades Survey. The majority of occupations were rated 3.8 or higher. The job titles most difficult to recruit were plumber/pipefitter (4.3), HVAC technician (4.0) and welder (4.0).

Recruiting difficulty for skilled trades occupations (1 = not difficult, 5 = extremely difficult)

Demand for skilled trades workers is being fueled in part by overall job growth in the construction sector of the economy, one of the largest industry sectors that employs skilled trades roles. The construction sector is sometimes divided into the categories of residential construction, nonresidential construction, and civil engineering construction, and includes firms that provide both new construction as well as maintenance and remodeling services. The US currently has 7.3 million construction jobs, which is 95% of the peak of 7.7 million jobs reached in 2006. As shown in the graph below, the US economy has added an average of 265,000 construction jobs each year over the past six years.

US Construction employment (million jobs)

As the US economy continues to grow, and with the pressing need for state and federal government to address an aging infrastructure of roads and bridges, there is considerable potential for continued job growth in the construction sector, and with it, continued demand for skilled trade staffing.

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PDQ Staffing09/19/2019 06:35 am

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