Who Will Do The Hurricane Harvey Repair Work?

A report out Friday, September 1 shows not only is there billions of dollars in repair work following Hurricane Harvey, there also might not be enough people to actually do it.

Even before the hurricane, many builders in Texas reported having to wait as much as 45 days before they could start new home construction because of the labor shortage. The hurricane recovery projects may take even longer than that. “You can only imagine that it's going to be that much worse after the storm,” Scott Norman, executive director of the Texas Association of Builders told reporters during a conference call with members. 

On August 8, the National Association of Home Builders released its research from the monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing there are more than 225,000 open construction sector jobs in June. It's the highest number of open positions since September 2016, and more than 50,000 higher than June 2016.  The NAHB also reports more than half of the electrical contractors have trouble hiring new employees.

While people wait for repairs, Texas is also warning residents to be on the lookout for scam contractors and door-to-door salespeople offering construction work. While storm victims want to get the work done quickly, they may also become victims of unrealistic expectations and pay for work done by uncertified laborers.

The NAHB is also asking U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to be on the lookout for price gouging during the rebuild. It's statement says:

“A reliable supply of reasonably priced construction materials will be essential to getting people back into their homes in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey and to maintaining housing affordability nationwide. That's why the National Association of Home Builders today is urging U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to closely monitor the effects of the catastrophe on the cost of essential building materials, particularly lumber, and to act swiftly and decisively to prevent exploitative pricing.

“The need for extensive rebuilding and repair in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey is likely to affect the supply of building materials in markets around the country.

“We urge consumers nationwide to be aware of the potential for price gouging and to contact the U.S. Attorney General's office if they believe that prices of building materials are being manipulated unfairly in their market.”



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