Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Future of Blue Collar Jobs in Modular Industry

The news that housing is going to be somewhat gloomy in 2019 especially in site built housing (non-tract builders). The modular share of housing market may actually increase as several new modular home factories have either opened their doors over the past two years and new ones are about to open in 2019.

Site builders may find themselves embracing modular home construction if they can’t find enough laborers and skilled subs to build and finish their homes. Meanwhile modular factories continue to deliver homes that are 70-80% complete leaving the factory.

Retiring Baby Boomers on the modular factory’s production line and lower-income workers leaving on disability claims (including drug addiction) has largely led to the weak numbers in job applicants for our industry. Add to that are more high school seniors going on to four-year liberal arts degrees and getting highly skilled jobs or starting careers in professional services or in public services, like school teachers.

Parents today are telling their children that if they don’t finish college they won’t find a job that pays what a college degree could.

That is such BS!

Construction workers both in the factory and on the job sites will see continued demand and shortfalls in applicant pools. Many trucking companies now pay six-figure salaries and still can’t find enough drivers because of the negative “Blue Collar” stigma parents and peers spread about working with your hands.

Modular home factories looking to attract enough production workers will have to continue increasing wages and possibly experience diminished profits which are already thin. Compared to a few years ago, blue-collar workers are now much more likely to have a job they are satisfied with and experience rapid wage growth.”

Some areas of the national job market ripe for more automation include commercial food preparation; manufacturing; industrial cleaning; and maintenance jobs. However the modular housing industry especially in the East Coast and New England regions can only automate so far.

Modular housing in these regions is not cookie cutter like the Midwest and West Coast and more ‘hands on’ construction on the production line means automation is not going to elevate labor shortages in our industry.


Jon Johnson said...

Modular in UK is enjoying a bit of an opportunity phase Gary, but not able to work together to get the momentum they need at the moment to persuade commissioners and decision-makers that the product is totally trustworthy. Too many chasing too few orders at present and trying to corner the market - no affordability or sustainability considerations being taken into account.

Jon Johnson said...
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