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Contractors Driven to New Careers

Friday, January 11, 2013

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Thousands of unemployed contractors are shifting gears into other industries as construction continues reeling from the economic downturn, reports indicate.

The labor-strapped trucking industry is one field that is heavily recruiting those in need of a new line of work.

One example: A former painter from New Jersey says tough economic conditions inspired him to trade in his brushes for a big rig and a career change.

Timothy Wagner, who used to own a residential painting company, went from picking and choosing which jobs he wanted to not having any at all when the housing and construction market crashed, according to Prime Inc., the trucking company Wagner has worked for since January 2012.

Prime Inc truck
Prime Inc.

Residential contractors without jobs are finding opportunities in trucking, according to Prime Inc. The industry predicts a shortage of 111,000 drivers by 2014.

After a few years of trying to make ends meet, Wagner decided to look at a new career path in the trucking industry.

“I didn’t go to college, so I knew that my options might be limited,” explains the 42-year-old. “I was looking for steady work that I could do, and truck driving seemed like the logical answer. It’s nice now to get a paycheck without having to chase my money down myself.”

Campaign Targets Contractors

Prime recently announced Wagner’s story and details about an ongoing national campaign to employ professional truck drivers. The industry is predicting a shortage of 111,000 drivers by 2014 and 239,000 by 2022.

The American Trucking Association estimates that 96,178 drivers will be needed every year over the next 10 years to account for the driver shortage. Residential contractors are among the prime targets to fill that gap, according to Prime and ATA.

More than 1.4 million residential construction jobs were lost between April 2006 and October 2011, according to Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.

Employment in the construction industry remains low, and employment in most construction occupations is not expected to return to pre-recession levels, Prime said, citing U.S. Department of Labor figures.

On the other hand, a recent report by the Construction Labor Market Analyzer (CLMA) indicated that a two million-worker gap between construction labor demand and supply could be the industry's next crisis as the workforce continues to shrink in parts of the U.S.


Tagged categories: Economy; Jobs; Painters; Residential Construction; Residential contractors

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