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Study Finds Workforce Shortage in Construction Sector

By News Media Coverage

New research shows projected shortage of more than 7,000 workers annually over next five years

SACRAMENTO, CA — Valley Vision and the Center of Excellence at Los Rios Community College District released research findings today assessing the needs of the construction industry cluster, including a comprehensive workforce assessment.

“The impact of the recession that began in the late 2000s has cast a long shadow on the construction industry in California and its regions,” said Aaron Wilcher, Director of the Center of Excellence. “Unlike other sectors, overall construction value has not returned to pre-recession levels when residential construction was especially hard hit.”

Top-level findings from the research include:

  • The construction cluster contributes about $34.8 billion in industry output, 221,300 jobs and $17.4 billion in labor income to the Sacramento region.
  • For every job created in the construction cluster, 1.2 jobs are created elsewhere in the economy.
  • The region is woefully undersupplied in terms of the number of skilled workers available.
  • Workforce shortages pose a critical concern for the region and the industry.
  • Occupations with the largest shortages include carpenters, construction managers, electricians, real estate professionals, and heavy equipment operators, engineers, and plumbers and pipefitters.
  • Other occupational pain points include estimators, sheet metal workers, HVAC installers and mechanics, and welders.
  • The construction industry provides numerous career opportunities in well-jobs; career awareness is one challenge industry faces in attracting workers.

These and other findings were revealed today to more than one hundred attendees at a forum in Rocklin where Valley Vision facilitated discussion with education, workforce and industry partners around critical skills gaps, projected employment needs, education and training resources, and supply gaps. An employer panel discussion included participants from the Associated Building Contractors of NorCal, the North State Building Industry Foundation, Otto Construction, the Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 104, Teichert Construction, and Villara Building Solutions. The event was also a forum for gathering input on how to align and coordinate a regional workforce system that betters supports the construction industry cluster and to explore how system leaders can partner in ways that best address industry challenges.

“As part of our mission to support a 21st-century talent pipeline for the Capital Region, we partnered with the Los Rios Center of Excellence on this groundbreaking analysis of the construction industry,” explained Valley Vision CEO Bill Mueller. “The forum that followed gave industry leaders an opportunity to weigh key findings and to identify priorities for education and workforce programs, Strong Workforce investments, and new partnerships to better meet industry needs for this important sector of our economy.”

Valley Vision’s interest is to better understand the occupational gap impacts on construction and its sub-clusters and to provide a starting point for engaging employers around workforce development strategy and joint action planning. This research provides vital information to educational institutions, construction industry employers, and regional workforce stakeholders, who are now better positioned to work together in planning investments, coordinating training and recruitment, and addressing short and long-term employment challenges.

The research was made possible by the generous support of JPMorgan Chase & Co, the Los Rios Community College District, the Sacramento Employment & Training Agency, Golden Sierra Job Training Agency, North Central Counties Consortium, and Yolo Workforce Innovation Board.


For 25 years and with offices in Sacramento and Stockton, Valley Vision has brought people together from across a political and geographic spectrum to design solutions to big regional problems. Valley Vision is a trusted interpreter, commentator, forecaster and work partner for community inspired solutions and widely recognized as a leading research, civic planning and action agency that takes an independent and systemic approach to economic, social, and environmental issues.