2020 good for construction in Houston, but more jobs and workers are needed

Houston leads the market in residential construction.

Adaptive Construction Solutions’ Nicholas Morgan said Houston grew by 10.5 percent from 2013 to 2018. In 2019, there were more than 60,000 new jobs and this year, about 40,000 new jobs are expected. Typically for each new multi-family unit being built, six new jobs need to be created in the area.

"There's 23,000 multi-family units under construction in Houston with another 28,000 planned. So, we need approximately 300,000 new jobs to support all of that construction projects," said Morgan.

He said another challenge is luxury apartment construction is not a high paying job.

Morgan said in 2020 it will continue to expand, just not at the same pace. Plus, Houston has overbuilt office and warehouse space. Construction capability will be shifted to public projects like Metro Rail, schools and other infrastructure.

Marek Construction Companies CEO Stan Marek said the construction industry will be extremely busy this year.

"The residential industry has a lot of multi-family and single-family housing coming up. The medical center has about over $4 billion worth of work planned for the next 18 months," said Marek.

He said highway construction will be busy. However there will be a continuation of construction starts of new schools throughout the entire greater Houston area.

Houston Contractors Association Executive Director Jeff Nielsen said they’ll be busy.

“In civil construction, we’re estimating there’s going to be about somewhere between $10 and $15 billion over the next 15 to 20 years in the Greater Houston area,” said Nielsen. “That type of construction would include roads, bridges, water, sewer, storm sewer, flood control, anything that’s built for the city, the county or the state.”

But, will there be enough workers to make all this happen?

"We are going to see a real shortage of skilled labor. After 50 years of being in this business, I'm anticipating the biggest labor shortage we've ever seen," said Marek.

He said negative things like SB4 "Show Me Your Papers" (legal and illegal immigrants leaving the state, plus high school students not going into this field) has impacted the construction population.

New complex of apartment buildings under construction

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