How the labor shortage is hampering Middle Tennessee’s construction boom – Tennessean

construction workers at work

How the labor shortage is hampering Middle Tennessee’s construction boom – Tennessean

The Tennessean recently spoke with Dowdle Principal Glynn Dowdle about the current labor shortages in Middle Tennessee’s construction industry and how that is impacting Nashville’s growth. 

The article opens with Dowdle’s background as well as its current predicament with the severe labor shortages, noting that Tennessee is short 200,000 construction workers across all trades, per the Tennessee Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. 

Glynn is quoted as saying, “The biggest effect from the labor squeeze is many of our subcontractors just can’t find all of the help that they need.” 

This is driving up project costs and causing delays, according to the article.  

And this is not just a Nashville problem, as the article explains, “Across the U.S. there were 70,000 more separations in the construction industry than the 347,000 hires, according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data from November 2021.” 

Dowdle is mentioned again later, describing how subcontractors are coming to job sites missing crucial team members, or they’re having to rearrange their schedules. For example, the subcontractors working with Dowdle on the hospitality construction project Twelve Thirty Club downtown had trouble securing enough drywall finishers which delayed the electrical work.  

The shortage is partly due to more people leaving the industry than joining it. The article points out that there isn’t a mass exodus – retirement is happening at a normal rate – but that new generations of workers aren’t coming in. 

Glynn’s reasoning is: “I think, more and more Americans, young people, look at the options and they say, I’m not sure I want to be out there doing that sort of work. There are easier ways to make a living.” 

Part of the solution will be tapping into other sources of potential applicants and giving them vocational training, such as high school students or at-risk people. 

Read the full article in the Tennessean.  

This story was also picked up by the Columbia Daily Herald, The Daily News Journal and The Leaf Chronicle. Additionally, Glynn’s comments were included in another Columbia Daily Herald article. 

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