Technology and the Labor Shortage: Automation Can Empower Workers

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released data showing that spending in the private construction market has reached $954 billion, surpassing the previous peak spending of $906 billion in 2006. While spending is on the rise, so is the number of unfilled positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 243,000 construction job openings in May 2018—a nearly 33 percent increase from the 183,000 jobs open just a year before. With three million of the current 15 million construction workers planning on retiring or leaving the industry within the next decade, the issue won’t be resolved on its own.

The labor shortage is one of the most widely reported topics in the industry, as is the fear that automation will replace construction workers. But how do the two work together? Could automation ease the chokehold the labor shortage has on the construction industry? Or does it threaten the remaining field jobs? If construction’s power players choose to proceed responsibly, automation and technology in construction will aid the labor shortage by streamlining processes and empowering workers.

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