By now, the entire world is familiar with President Trump’s stance on border security and his infamous wall. Yet, as Trump pushes to remove illegal immigrants from the U.S. citing safety and security concerns, there’s some already noticeable results that he hadn’t planned on… As a result of Trump’s stance on illegals, more and more builders are finding themselves with a shortage of reliable labor to put up homes. As a result of the labor shortage, home prices are rising quickly
The Consequences of Labor Shortage
Whether from President Obama’s past policies or President Trump’s current policies, unemployment is currently at the lowest level it’s seen in about a decade at 4.4 percent. That means more money coming in from payroll taxes for the government and also shows signs of a healthy industry. However, one industry that isn’t rising is builders. With the exception of major cities with ongoing development projects such as New York, Chicago, LA, and Miami, contractors are seeing shortages of skilled labor positions. As a result, construction labor costs are rising an average of 4-5 percent annually, which is more than the annual rise of inflation.
Some reasons are that during the last construction downturn, many workers found other careers or simply retired, while younger people today stay away from labor positions. However, the biggest culprit looks to be President Trump’s immigration policies. More than 25% of all construction workers are immigrants, with about 20% of workers being illegal immigrants.
Watch the video from ABC News as Trump ask Congress for $1-trillion infrastructure investment:
Many of these workers rely on H-2B visas, which are temporary visas issued to workers with non-agricultural jobs. These Visas are capped at 66,000 every fiscal year, though return workers don’t count towards that number. The homeland security secretary can increase the number of visas to about 130,000. But even with that number, concerns point to the construction industry needing about another 500,000 workers to fill all open positions. Employers must advertise to American workers before hiring foreign labor under H-2B rules. And with the time it takes between applying for and receiving visas, foreign labor may not be available for weeks or even months. That delay would affect seasonal help as well as infrastructure spending, leading to higher prices remaining for businesses who rely on foreign workers. Don’t expect those prices to go down anytime soon.
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