Lagging hires in Arizona construction affecting time it takes to build homes

Mar 13, 2017, 9:13 AM | Updated: 1:59 pm
(AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)...
(AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)
(AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)

PHOENIX — While construction jobs are on the rise across the United States, Arizona isn’t experiencing the same type of increase and that’s having an effect on the time it takes to build houses in the state.

Arizona employed more than 240,000 construction workers at the peak of the housing boom in 2006. Today, there are about 134,000 construction workers employed in the state, according to local economist Rick Merritt, president of Elliott D. Pollack and Company.

Over the past year, Arizona gained about 4,000 construction jobs. Meanwhile, across the country the construction industry is growing substantially. The latest U.S. jobs report found that 58,000 new construction jobs were added to the nation’s economy last month, the most in nearly a decade.

“The biggest complaint we hear from contractors and homebuilders is that there just isn’t enough labor,” Merritt said. “And if we really see a construction boom, particularly in the housing market, the homebuilders are concerned that they won’t be able to keep up with demand.”

Merritt added that because of the construction labor shortage, homebuilders are paying higher wages to recruit and retain workers. As a result, he said it costs more to build houses and often those costs are passed along to buyers.

In addition, because there aren’t enough construction workers in Arizona, houses are taking longer to build. According to RL Brown Housing Reports, which provides housing market research for the Phoenix metropolitan area, it takes an average 181 days to build a house in Maricopa and Pinal counties.

Greg Burger, president of RL Brown Housing Reports, said that’s a slight improvement from last summer, when it took an average 194 days to build a house in the same counties.

“The average build-time has improved approximately seven working days compared to several months ago,” Burger said. “We anticipate that as the economy strengthens and as the labor force increases and construction jobs specifically are brought on here locally, that will in fact help diminish the build-time that we currently are experiencing.”

Burger said the slight decrease in build-time is mostly because contractors and homebuilders are “diligently working to be more efficient in how they’re handling their crews.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)...
Taylor Tasler

Phoenix police, fire departments unveil plan for Super Bowl

The Phoenix police and fire departments will be ready to jump into action at a moment’s notice for Super Bowl events around downtown.
6 hours ago
(KTAR News Photo/Colton Krolak)...
Colton Krolak

New desert garden open in time for Super Bowl LVII in Glendale

Hance Park in Downtown Phoenix will host one of the Valley’s many Super Bowl festivities, and now it has a brand new desert garden.
6 hours ago
(Facebook Photos/ Arizona Renaissance Festival, Arizona Balloon Classic)...

Weekend guide: Here are the biggest events around metro Phoenix for Feb. 3-5

The Arizona Renaissance Festival is back, hot air balloons will rise in the Goodyear sky and there'll be plenty of museums to explore. Here's this weekend's events guide.
6 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Arizona Department of Transportation)...

ADOT puts freeway closures on hold until after Super Bowl

Getting around Valley freeways won't require any end arounds over the next two weeks after state transportation officials put a hold on scheduled closures.
6 hours ago
(Putting World)...

Putting World, with 18-hole indoor course, opens in Scottsdale

Putting World, a new putting venue featuring an 18-hole indoor course, opened in Scottsdale.
1 day ago
(ADOT Photo)...

Here are the top 10 most popular specialty license plates in Arizona in 2022

The Arizona Department of Transportation on Wednesday released its 10 most popular custom plates designs of 2022. There was a repeat winner.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Lagging hires in Arizona construction affecting time it takes to build homes