Monday, December 19, 2016
Good thing he is lying about it
Trump's much tootled infrastructure building surge would run into a serious problem if it were real.According to contractors across the country, there are not enough skilled workers to do what is needed. Republicans having spent the last 8 years starving the beast and denying necessary funds for the work have kept the demand for them low and allowed them to retire without replacement or just wander off to other fields.
More than two-thirds of U.S. roads are in less than good condition and nearly 143,000 bridges need repair or improvement, the Transportation Department estimates.Whoo-Hoo! Third world, here we come!
At the same time, construction contractors have reported tight labor conditions in the South, Midwest and Southwest, causing project delays, the Federal Reserve noted last month.
Earlier this year, the National Association of Home Builders estimated there were around 200,000 unfilled construction jobs in the United States, an 81 percent increase in the last two years.
Infrastructure projects need highly trained workers, such as heavy equipment operators and iron specialists. But as a result of the 2007-2008 recession, which caused an estimated 25 percent of construction jobs to vanish, their ranks have thinned.
Many of these workers went back to school, joined the military or got lower-paying jobs in retail, services and other sectors. Some just got too old for the rigors of construction.
"They wandered off into other careers," said Leonard Toenjes, president of Associated General Contractors of Missouri, which represents contractors in the state.
Undocumented immigrants, who otherwise might help replenish those ranks, are unlikely candidates however, since companies do not want to invest in training people with an uncertain status, especially given Trump's anti-immigrant bent.
The labor shortage is driving up construction costs, according to government and industry experts, which could cut into the scope of any new Washington investment scheme.
In response to the construction "skills gap," the U.S. Department of Labor and Federal Highway Administration are aiming to expand help to localities training workers for road and bridge building, according to a FHWA spokesman.
Even if the scope of work is not as grandiose as Trump originally envisioned, it would benefit a range of businesses, from steel maker Nucor Corp and concrete firm US Concrete Inc to construction machinery companies such as Caterpillar Inc.
More infrastructure spending would boost trade unions, too, which appeals to Democrats.
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