September 3, 2019
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Survey: Construction labor shortage hits 80 percent of Washington contractors

Construction companies are boosting pay and benefits, creating their own training programs and turning to new technology. But labor shortages persist, a new survey from the Associated General Contractors of America shows.

The association surveyed 2,000 construction firms across the country. Eighty percent both nationally and in Washington said they had difficulty finding qualified workers for hourly positions, The Spokesman-Review reports.

The most in-demand positions were roofers, electricians, millwrights, ironworkers and drywall installers.

“Very few contractors can find the right people, or enough of them,” said Cheryl Stewart, executive director for the Inland Northwest AGC. “Across the board, I don’t know of any trade that’s having an easy time.”

Notably, more than 35% of Washington contractors said they expect these worker shortages to continue next year, stating "they are skeptical about the pipeline for recruiting and training workers," the newspaper reported.

In the Spokane area, contractors are raising wages and improving health benefits and other incentives to attract employees. Close to half of the Washington firms surveyed said they are launching or expanding their own company training programs in an effort to build a better workforce.

Contact AWB’s Amy Anderson for more information about workforce issues at AmyA@awb.org.



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Big Changes


Employers need to prepare for new noncompete laws

By Tim O'Connell of Stoel Rives

During the last legislative session, Washington took significant steps to limit noncompetition agreements for employees in the state and prohibit employer policies that ban moonlighting, impacting not only an important part of many local companies' strategies to protect their market position, but also employee loyalty.

The new state statute regarding noncompetition agreements and moonlighting policies demands attention from Washington employers...

Starting Jan. 1, 2020, employers that utilize noncompetition agreements need to carefully evaluate whether those agreements will meet the new state standards. If not, employers should revoke or revise those agreements prior to the effective date...

Properly structured noncompetition agreements and properly based policies regarding moonlighting are valid. Employers must, however, address these new limitations, sooner rather than later.

Read the full column in The Puget Sound Business Journal