Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Thu, Aug. 22

Housing recovery triggers labor shortage

A number of contractors in the quad-city area are reporting labor shortages as housing construction continues its sluggish recovery.

Contractors said they have spent months trying to fill openings for skilled craftspeople.

It took a few months for Ponderosa Electric in Prescott to hire two experienced electricians, part-owner Leon Robert Taylor said.

"We are looking for quite a bit of experience because we are a service company," he said.

Taylor said the shortage is resulting in a backlog of jobs for his company, which does electrical work with a focus on residential.

"We depend on being able to get to these customers the next day," he said.

A substantial increase in business has created a demand for help for Matt Greenlee, owner of Greenlee Designer Surfaces in Prescott.

"I am having a hard time finding enough (installers)," said Greenlee, a tile contractor in this area for 20 years.

He said he could use three or four tile installers, adding, "There is more work out there."

More work for heating, air-conditioning and ventilation technicians will materialize with cooling temperatures in the area, said Brenda Godbold, office manager of Moyers Heating & Cooling in Prescott Valley. She said Phoenix-area HVAC contractors are laying off help.

"We are full finally" in terms of staffing, Godbold said, adding it took Moyers months to fill a service technician position.

The labor shortage could cause costly construction delays, said Sandy Griffis, executive director of the Yavapai County Contractors Association, which has more than 300 members.

She called for immigration reform to make it easier to hire foreign nationals as guest workers and for skilled-based programs for high school students to relieve the labor shortage.

"We are not giving our students the opportunity to learn skills like construction," Griffis said.

Contact the reporter on Twitter @Ken Hedlines.

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