By Daniel Groves, President of CLMA® In the fourth year of economic recovery, workforce shortage concerns continue to rise. Many wonder if and where they can find the available craft necessary to complete the large projects underway and in the pipeline, in addition to the baseline demand for skilled labor for small capital spending and maintenance/turnaround project activity.  With a disproportionate amount of the anticipated growth expected to occur in the southeastern United States, particularly in the gulf coast region, many are looking to understand and mitigate the risk of skilled labor supply and demand imbalances.  By analyzing macro and micro market indicators, proposed project demand and skill craft labor supply, a better understanding of the market and the competing pool for labor can be gleaned – but the data must be reliable. The nation’s nonresidential construction labor force currently stands at about 5.0 million workers.  While up slightly from last year, in remains down from an approximated six million prior to the Great Recession.  As reported in the 20/20 Foresight Report released in May 2014, the Construction Labor Market Analyzer® (CLMA®) estimates that at least 5.6 million skilled workers will be in demand toward the end of this year for planned industrial and nonindustrial projects, rising to 6.1 million or more as soon as next year.  Looking ahead, labor demand is expected to intensify and with the CLMA®’s five-year pipeline valued at nearly $2.5 trillion, a peak of about 7.0 million workers will be needed by 2018.  Nearly all key trades will face rising demand and without an increase in the available supply; a deficit of about 2 million skilled workers will continue to be a major challenge. Furthermore, demands for skilled labor from unidentified construction projects and from continued development in oil and gas may create an even greater shortage. CLMA logo“This past spring there has been a severe shortage of labor in our region,” says Eddie Clayton, Contracting Strategies Manager for Southern Company. “Several of our projects have run short but with a tool like the CLMA®, we are able to make educated decisions on how we want to handle the shortages. We are better equipped, better able to plan, and we are in control of the outcome instead of simply reacting to a situation that was previously out of our hands.” In order to successfully navigate the risks that lie ahead, prudent planning will be essential among owners, contractors and other industry stakeholders to understand the overall competitive environment and anticipate the labor challenges potential projects may face. The CLMA® is a powerful, easy-to-use tool that produces actionable, real-time craft labor market intelligence for any area of the United States. It enables current and early project workforce planning in a new and unique way so that you can more effectively manage your project labor risk. For more information on how the CLMA® can help you, visit

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NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database.