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

Traffic is backed up on Interstate 10 in Phoenix backed up after a pedestrian was struck and killed...

Pedestrian struck, killed on EB Interstate 10 approaching Broadway Curve in Phoenix

A pedestrian was struck and killed on Interstate 10 in Phoenix on Monday morning, backing up rush hour traffic for miles, authorities said.

56 minutes ago

Smoke is visible at the scene of a deadly crash in Mesa, Arizona, in this image from an Arizona Dep...

2 dead after passenger van hits wall, bursts into flames on East Valley freeway ramp

Two people were killed in a fiery crash on an East Valley freeway exit ramp on Sunday night, authorities said.

2 hours ago

Jesus Castillo-Ordonez mugshot...

Man accused in west Phoenix murder, also linked to November armed robbery

A man was arrested in connection to a murder and armed robbery in west Phoenix, authorities said.

2 hours ago

The holidays are here and with that can come a certain level of stress. A Valley health expert has ...

Balin Overstolz McNair

Valley health expert gives tips on reducing holiday stress

The holidays are here and with that can come a certain level of stress. A Valley health expert has tips to take pressure off yourself and loved ones.

4 hours ago

Michael Crow...

Damon Allred

ASU president Michael Crow ‘optimistic’ about COVID-related learning loss recovery

With Arizona's education still suffering from learning loss, ASU president Michael Crow says they "are moving in (the right) direction."

4 hours ago

The 10-story building in downtown Phoenix that houses the Arizona Republic and KPNX-TV has changed ...

Audrey Jensen/Phoenix Business Journal

Accounting firm buys Arizona Republic office building in downtown Phoenix

Phoenix-based ViaWest Group has sold the downtown Phoenix office tower that houses The Arizona Republic and KPNX-TV 12News.

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Follow @KTAR923...

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]



Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.

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