UNITY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) — Contractors and the skilled trades are long on work but short on workers.
Carpenters, plumbers and electricians are all needed now, and KDKA’s Ross Guidotti spoke to several contractors about the problem they are facing.READ MORE: Allegheny County Health Director Says Delta Variant Is Fueling Rising Cases, Hospitalizations
“For thirty-seven years, I have been doing this. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” said home builder Dave Roach.
Roach is one of many professional contractors facing staffing issues. Finding someone to run some line, swing a hammer or rough in plumbing has become a crisis for those whose job it is to build America.
“Even high school kids you can’t get. College kids, they don’t want to work,” said Roach.
And it is not just in western Pennsylvania, A 2021 survey by People Ready, a service that lines up industrial workers with jobs, shows anywhere from a 12 percent to 50 percent vacancy rate for skilled trade jobs.
They are jobs that pay well with significant opportunities for advancement and long-term employment.READ MORE: 'Itchy Mites:' Preventing Bites And The Itch That Comes With A Mite Bite
“If someone was qualified, he’d be in the 20 to 25 zone to start off,” said Roach.
Pat Dicesare co-owns a construction company. He said the reason people don’t want to put on the tool belt is they make more money collecting enhanced unemployment benefits, and this is hard work.
“They’ll show up one day, they’re late the next day,” Dicesare said. “Somedays they don’t call you and tell you they’re not coming. They do not come to work and sometimes you never see them again.”
Why this is happening has to do with people wanting to spend coronavirus relief money, low-interest rates for home building and improvement, and Baby Boomers leaving the trades in record numbers.
“Nobody wants to take over. Who’s going to build houses? Who’s gonna do this stuff? I don’t know what’s gonna happen, man. It’s bad,” said RoachMORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Weather: Temperatures Continue Rising On Thursday
Both of the people KDKA spoke to said they’d go with on-the-job training if people were only interested in it.