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The shortage of skilled labor continues to have a pronounced impact on the remodeling industry, according to a survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers. Of the 16 categories of trades included in the NAHB's Remodeling Market Index (RMI) survey, more than half of remodelers reported experiencing shortages of labor in 12.

As usual, the reported shortages were most widespread for the three categories of carpenters, but over 60% of remodelers also reported shortages of bricklayers & masons (71%), concrete workers (70%) and drywall installers (65%).

NAHB began asking remodelers about labor shortages in 2013, modeling the questions on similar ones periodically asked of single-family builders in the survey for the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. For each of the trades tracked consistently since that time, the shortages peaked in 2017, then declined slightly in 2018. The declines ranged from 1 percentage point (for electricians) to 8 percentage points (for roofers). It is probably not surprising that shortages finally eased slightly in the latter part of 2018, given the way residential construction activity was softening at the time (as residential construction spending declined slightly every month from July through November, and total housing starts declined slightly every month from August through December).

The most common effects of the shortages have been causing remodelers to pay higher wages, forcing them to raise prices to customers, and making it difficult to complete projects on time.

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