Bloomberg View Mar 1, 2017
The construction labor market at current wages is tight and has been tightening for the past several years. Last summer, when construction unemployment was at its seasonal low, there were only around 400,000 unemployed construction workers. This is around the lowest level we’ve seen for construction unemployment since the late 1990s. So if we’re going to get an unprecedented amount of construction employment growth, they’re going to have to come from other industries, outside the labor force, or abroad.
Immigrant labor, particularly undocumented workers, represent a significant proportion of the construction labor force. Bloomberg reported last week that up to 1.1 million construction workers in the U.S. are undocumented, so stepping up deportations would deplete an already-too-small construction labor pool.