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Construction Labor Weekly - 11/22/21


Insights for better decisions


This week's industry gems

?? What percentage of your workforce is vaccinated

Forbes says the average for construction is 55% vaccination rate. 

The companies we're talking to are seeing vaccination rates well below 55%

The OSHA ETS is tied up in the courts and there's a good chance the vaccination mandate will not go into effect. 

Still, if the mandate goes into effect we'd expect this to disrupt the already tenuous labor situation.

?? Three more major indicators are predicting increased construction spending.

The Dodge Network's Momentum Index is at near 14-year highs (leading indicator)

ABC's backlog indicator rebounded (leading indicator)

Residential building backlog is at historic highs (leading indicator)

?? Only 16 states (plus DC) have added jobs above pre-COVID levels

This is really concerning for the labor market.

We're at 2 year lows for unemployment is still 34 states are below pre-COVID levels. 

What happens when those states return to pre-COVID levels?

Texas is 46,400 below pre-COVID levels and New York is 42,800 lower than February 2020.


What's new on Road Dog Jobs?

?? Premium job posts drive applicants

Have you seen silver, gold and platinum job posts? These jobs stay at the top of the board and deliver a huge bump in exposure and candidates.

A company recently posted a platinum job and has hired almost 30 people from that one job post

That's the most effective and valuable $500 you can spend.

?? Weekly hot jobs email gets attention

The hot jobs email we send out each week is getting a lot of attention. 

60,000 recipients and open rates are great.

If you're a current customer, get in touch with us with your  most urgent jobs so we can get those in the email and get them the exposure they need.

?? We are building the site for quality over quantity

The applications per job post are through the roof on RDJ. 

We've reduced total job posts on the site yet maintained applications per month.

Road Dog Jobs customers are seeing 12+ applicants per jobs post. 

This puts our customers in the driver's seat for recruiting the top candidates to their job sites.

?? Question to current Road Dog Jobs customers

We're considering a change that would give double the job posts each month with each post having a 14 day duration.

No pricing change for this, obviously.

Let us know what you think about this idea

Everything's fine. 

The big news of the week is the OSHA ETS for vaccination mandates has been suspended.

It could be thrown out.

Maybe. We'll see.

If you like legal documents here's the ruling

Here's a fun fact from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.

In its 50 year history, OSHA has issued ten (10) ETSs. Of those, six (6) were challenged in court.

Of those six, only one (1) survived.

One! Wow.

OSHA's ETS record is not great so odds are this ETS is heading to the scrap pile.

If the ETS is ultimately thrown out by the courts, it will also eliminate one disruptor for the construction labor markets.

But like a game of whack-a-mole new disruptors keep popping up.

This week it came in a trifecta from the Dodge Momentum index +  the ABC backlog indicator + residential home building backlog (links below).

All three (3) of these indicators are forecasting heavy workloads ahead.

In construction, lots of work means lots of people. The problem right now for everybody is the industry is maxed out. 

There aren't a lot of people waiting around to go to work.

The Road Dog Jobs metric of Total Available Construction Labor (TACL) - which measures how many workers are available after all job openings are filled - shows a dire situation.

Historically the TACL number has been 500,000+. As of right now that number is 35,000.

Not good.

We can't stress this enough: it's time to start planning for a major labor shortage.

The companies that win aren't going to be the ones whining about "nobody wants to work in trades anymore."


The companies that are going to win are the companies that execute on a plan.

Here's our tips for the week for you to go out and win this war for talent:
  • Build your current and former employee list. Who's worked for your before and do you know how to get in touch with them? This is among the most valuable pieces of information any company can have. It's readily available to you - put that information together and start proactively using it.
  • When is your greatest labor need? This is critical. Look at your projects and determine when the peak needs are going to be. Start communicating to your list (see note #1) when this need is going to be. Get into potential employee's thinking that in a certain week or month they should be looking for your jobs to be hiring. 
  • Maximize your communication. Whether you get in touch with your employee base via text, email, hand written letter or fax machine, get those channels open. Do giveaways. Hold contests. Do whatever it takes to have your company on the minds of people that you're going to want to hire. That way you an differentiate your jobs easier when the time comes to hire.
So yes - things are tough right now. And yes things are going to get worse.

The best companies will take action to get ahead of this - and they'll win.

Go make it happen!

Our favorite reading from the week

Dodge Construction Network's Momentum Index a near 14-year high
The value of nonresidential building projects entering planning has staged a solid recovery this fall. It has lifted the Momentum Index to its highest level in nearly 14 years, following a near-moribund summer of activity. 

ABC's backlog indicator rebounds in October, contractor confidence in sales and profit margin falls
After declining for two months, nonresidential construction backlog bounced back in October

US homebuilding drops, construction backlog surges as shortages worsen
The stock of single-family housing under construction increased 1.4% to a rate of 726,000 units last month, the highest since May 2007. Multi-family homes under construction rose to the highest level in more than 47 years.

OSHA suspends enforcement of Biden's vaccine mandate
"While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation."

Only 16 States and D.C. added construction jobs since pandemic began as Build Back Better Bill threatens to undermine sector's recover.
“Although activity picked up in most states in October, construction employment remains below pre-pandemic levels in two out of three states,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The record number of job openings shows contractors are eager to hire more workers but can’t find enough qualified applicants.” 

?? ?? ??

Crush some turkey and have a great week everybody!