Affordable Housing Affected By Workforce Need

August 03, 2018 05:40 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- Affordable housing continues to be a growing issue in Rochester. There are multiple factors that go into the price of renting and buying, including the cost of labor.        

The decrease in construction workers may be increasing the cost of housing.


There is a decline in young construction workers, both in South Eastern Minnesota and across the nation.

In 2005, there were 11.7 million construction workers in the U.S., but in 2016 that number dropped by more than a million, according to an analysis of U.S Census Data by Buildzoom in the Wall Street Journal.

Executive Director of Rochester Area Builders John Eischen says students and parents aren’t necessarily aware of the benefits of working in the industry.

“Parents may not understand how great a career in the construction industry is, how well they pay and the benefits,” said Eischen.

An average construction worker in Minnesota makes $18.61 an hour according to Deed Occupational Employment statistics. That’s well over the $7.87 minimum wage in Minnesota.

Pre-Construction Services Manager Andy Johnson for Minnesota based construction company Kraus-Anderson says there are plenty of jobs available.

"We are hiring at a pretty rapid pace right now. We are always looking for good workers, we do hire entry level," said Johnson.

Hiring younger construction workers not only helps fill vacant spots in the industry, but it also helps the cost of housing remain low.

Johnson says when there aren’t enough people to work on a construction job, prices go up.

"There are basically two options: you either work overtime hours which costs more money, or you extend the duration of the project. But time is money and owners want to get into their buildings as soon as possible,” said Johnson.

Eischen says this partially contributes to Rochester’s affordable housing crisis.  

"We're talking about affordable housing here in the community and that's part of the challenge is finding people to do the work,” said Eischen.


Talia Milavetz

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