During live appearances on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Jan. 8
and Fox Business Network’s “Varney & Co.” Jan. 5
, ABC President and CEO Mike Bellaman told viewers that while the construction industry is booming, the challenge going forward is finding skilled labor, especially if Congress passes a wide-ranging, trillion dollar bill meant to address the country’s aging infrastructure.
On both shows, Bellaman touted the record amount of construction spending the government reported for November 2017, the projected 2 percent to 3 percent growth in 2018, and the expectation that construction’s 2017 wage growth of 4 percent will continue. Bellaman attributed this success to the Trump administration’s business-friendly rollbacks of regulations and the passage of tax reform. He said both of these moves are creating a culture change in Washington, which is giving construction CEOs more confidence.
Bellaman also told viewers of both networks that if Washington passes an infrastructure bill, the construction industry’s current skilled labor shortage of 500,000 workers could grow by another 700,000. Bellaman said the construction industry’s competency-based training programs and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion are steps in the right direction to shrink the skilled labor shortage.