As home prices continue to skyrocket in Texas, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas says another headwind has appeared for developers to spur further increases in housing prices--a shortage of skilled workers.
News Radio 1200 WOAI reports the Fed is now listing 'shortages of labor' along with a lack of developable lots and increasingly expensive local regulations as factors pushing the price of existing and new homes into the stratosphere.
"Texas house prices have been growing faster than the nation," economist Anil Kumar said. "We have seen strong house price increases in the last two years."
The demand says the skyrocketing prices are blamed both on strong demand and 'inadequate housing supply,' and Kumar says a growing problem in that lack of supply is the fact that the skilled trades that usually produce construction workers, plumbers, electricians, and the other people needed for home construction are also in demand in the two areas where jobs in the state are increasing the fastest--energy and manufacturing.
"The fact that energy has been recovering is not surprising because oil prices have stabilized," he said.
And the growth in energy employment has sparked a revival in manufacturing. Kumar says 'goods producing' sectors in Texas have added jobs at a 6.5% rate so far in 2017, compared with just a 1.9% increase in jobs in private services.
But there is good news in this increasingly tight job market. Economists say it gives workers more control over wages, working conditions, and work hours, because replacement workers, especially skilled workers, are no longer plentiful.
Kumar says there is also a decrease in 'discouraged' workers in the Texas work force, as well as people who are 'marginally attached' and 'underemployed.'