TAYLOR, Texas (KXAN) — Wednesday, Samsung began its three-day job fair at the Williamson County Expo Center.
The first two days had a special focus on hosting contractors and subcontractors. Agencies that watch construction jobs said rapid development is outpacing the number of workers in the area.
Kelly Moreno with Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area said the rapid demand for more housing and business is outgrowing the supply in the county.
She said the shortage is happening despite low unemployment numbers in the county. Moreno believes many construction workers “upskilled” during the pandemic, meaning they learned a new trade and entered a different field of work.
“In October, unemployment was 2.9% for Williamson County, so that’s pre-pandemic levels. We’re back to where we were, and people did upskill during the pandemic,” said Moreno.
This shortage of contractors is happening across the nation, according to Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America.
Simonson said an October report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said 400,000 construction jobs were open at the end of the month.
“So basically, contractors were looking for twice as many workers as they were able to bring on board,” said Simonson.
He said while this high demand has driven up wages for workers by 6.6% from this time last year, more support is needed to solve this issue for the long term.
“We think the government at all levels should be putting more money into career and technical education. We also need to provide more employment-based immigration, the industry historically has used a lot of foreign-born workers,” said Simonson.
The Samsung job fair continues through Friday.