ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — In Northwest Arkansas, construction projects are everywhere, but finding workers to complete the projects has been challenge for some contractors.
Owner of HTP Contractors Scott Hill said it is hard to compete with large companies and large-scale construction projects in the area. Hill said just for one project, he needs workers that have a variety of skills to handle the different tasks.
“As a small, I guess, medium sized company, now what are the challenges that we have is that there are a lot of big companies around here doing a lot larger and higher profile projects and so they’re able to pay more,” Hill said.
Hill said it uses subcontractors to help with construction. The lack of workers can make projects take longer to complete or even prevent the company from being able to take on projects in the first place.
“Something that should have taken six weeks took 15 and it was just a matter of they didn’t have staff,” Hill said.
University of Arkansas economist Jeff Cooperstein said Arkansas’ low unemployment rate makes it even more challenging to find workers.
“The number of people without a job that are actively looking is at a historically low point in time,” Cooperstein said.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 341,000 open jobs in the construction field.
Cooperstein said workforce education is a good start.
“Any kind of education is going to boost the skill levels of workers in the state, and that might spill over into the construction field as well,” Cooperstein said.
Hill agrees with the importance of schooling and said it’s also important to take care of the workers already in the construction field.