Construction companies dealing with major labor shortage

by: Craig Lucie Updated:

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FAYETTE COUNTY, Ga. - A local construction company says it is dealing with a major labor shortage, and that company isn't the only one.

It seems everywhere you look, another apartment building or hotel is going up, and the demand for workers is skyrocketing.

“The volume of work has picked up for everybody. We have people calling us about hotels all the time,” said Mark Williamson, who owns the real estate company Randolph Williamson.

While business is good for construction companies such as Randolph Williamson, finding enough workers has been a challenge.

Channel 2’s Craig Lucie went to Peachtree City on Wednesday afternoon, where one construction company owner told him workers have disappeared and that's leading to project delays.


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“I’ve been doing the construction business for 30 years and never seen it like this before,” said Carl Heidle, with Randolph Williamson.

Heidle and his colleague Mark Williamson explained the issue, which started when the recession hit.

Many construction workers switched careers when things dried up or they got out of the business altogether.

“They are not coming back because they are fully retired. In that eight years, people didn’t come into business because there were no jobs,” Williamson said.

Heidle said recruiting companies are having trouble.

“They are recruiting from everywhere and can’t come up with people,” Heidle said.

Heidle said instead of looking outside the area, recruiters have shown up at local construction sites to poach already-employed workers.

“A recruiter showed up and offered everybody $5 more an hour to go work downtown. Iron workers are still a problem, along with framers,” Heidle said.

Lucie asked Heidle which jobs they are going to.

“Most of them are at SunTrust or Mercedes Benz stadium,” Heidle said.

Along with the stadium projects, Piedmont Hospital is now working on a $600 million expansion.

“That’s going to take a lot of people to do,” Williamson said.

Mark Williamson said jobs that were taking nine months to complete are now taking 13 to 14 months because he can’t get workers like before the recession.

The labor shortage also means that as the projects take longer, traffic around them will continue to be slow going.