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Young people have always been told that earning a four-year college degree is the only way to get a high paying job and achieve success. But the narrative is changing; college enrollment rates are dropping, while trade/vocational school enrollment rates, especially for the construction industry, are on the rise. Here are the overall trends in trade school and construction training program enrollments, as well as the current construction job market in the U.S.

Trade School enrollment on the rise

Recently, colleges have experienced significant declines in enrollment, while many trade programs are observing the opposite. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, enrollment in trade schools – particularly across construction, culinary, and mechanic trade programs – have experienced increases in enrollment over the last two years.
Many consider the pandemic to be the turning point that caused this shift. Prior to the pandemic, many trade sectors were experiencing labor shortages, particularly in construction. Construction industry training programs saw the largest enrollment increase, with a rise of 19.3% year over year, bringing enrollment in the trade back to pre-pandemic levels.
Although colleges and universities may feel the pressure to recruit more students, seeing young people pursue trades is good for our nation’s economy and workforce. This comes at a critical time as well, because there are an estimated 650,000 open positions in the construction industry, which has led to a significant backlog in construction projects. Our economy and infrastructure need these skilled workers, so the more the merrier!

Construction Industry Jobs

The construction industry in particular allows for diverse opportunities for employment, including more corporate or administrative roles, as well as boots on the ground, skilled roles. Some careers in the industry require college degrees, while others require specific industry certifications.
The construction industry has an estimated growth rate of 7%, expecting to add about 109,100 new jobs between the years over the next five years. Many construction jobs are currently in high demand, seeking skilled workers to join the ranks and help companies complete pending projects. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of these high demand jobs include: electricians, mechanical engineers, financial managers, software developers, solar photovoltaic installers, and wind turbine service technicians. There are many opportunities for employment in this growing industry, regardless of expertise or speciality.

Building the Best with U.S. Bridge

The professional U.S. Bridge team provides comprehensive and high-quality service that is friendly and time-efficient. As industry leaders and pioneers in several construction industry firsts, we know the importance of top of the line materials, unique and reliable designs, and the industry’s top engineers.
Working with us means working with professionals at every stage of the process. Get in touch with us now to begin the process, or use our exclusive Bridgescope tool for a jumpstart.

Over the past few years, inflation has increased the price of everyday essentials and almost everything used in the bridge and building sectors. The skyrocketing prices shocked many manufacturers, resulting in cold feet and desperate attempts to resuscitate deals.

This can be particularly challenging for bridge fabrication companies, as raw materials and labor costs can account for a significant portion of their expenses. However, there are strategies that a bridge fabricator can implement to fight against inflation and maintain its competitive edge.

What’s Fueling Inflation?

Inflation can significantly impact bridge construction and operations as the cost of steel, labor, and other inputs increase. However, other economic factors can drive prices up considerably.

Construction companies need to learn how to navigate the current economic climate. Understanding the underlying causes of inflation and developing strategies to mitigate its impact on a business is essential. Some of these factors include:

  • COVID-19-related shortages: The pandemic reduced global manufacturing and has kept workers away in numerous countries. This lowers production and leads to fewer items, higher demand, and higher prices.
  • Higher fuel costs: Like everything else, fuel costs are also increasing, leading to gas-powered operations costing much more to run efficiently.
  • Increased demand: Due to decades of underinvestment in infrastructure, new bridges, roads, and renovations are undoubtedly needed. The current infrastructure bill will finance this effort, and financing will compete for building resources, raising costs.

Overcoming Inflation

Despite support from the government, many construction firms are low on funds, leaving them with less support to fight against inflation and compete for supplies and equipment. However, there are plenty of ways a bridge fabricator can still compete in this troublesome market while remaining profitable and complying with contracts.

Create New Rules

Many construction firms abide by the same rules when inflation is high. This shouldn’t be the case. Instead, with higher inflation, construction companies need to create new regulations and procedures.

For example, companies can rethink inventory management when ordering supplies to save money and storage space. Also, before signing any contracts, firms need to evaluate whether or not it makes sense to purchase supplies immediately or to wait, as the costs may fluctuate in the future.

Eliminate Undercutting

Competitiveness within the bridge industry is real; sometimes companies offer lower prices than their competitors. However, doing so may not be wise in times of rising prices. This is because undercutting can cause a significant loss of profit and can ultimately put a firm out of business.

Keep Contracts Up to Date

When discussing contracts with a legal team, consider the possibility of including price provisions to combat inflation. This will keep customers accountable for any potential budget overruns that might arise throughout construction.

Treat Employees Right

Firms that take the initiative to transform their companies into attractive workplaces will benefit from not having to replace their workforce as much. Consider providing employees with innovative and relevant perks that won’t break the bank.

Also, ensuring a safe working environment will quell any concerns. By taking these steps, companies won’t have to replace employees and won’t have to spend money training new ones.

What’s Next for the Industry?

The past has made it clear that this is just a moment that’ll likely pass, and the market and supply chain will stabilize and rebound to what it was before the pandemic. However, challenges will remain, and there will still be a variety of difficulties to face.

So, it will be up to project owners and contractors to identify cost-saving alternatives that bridge the gap between bid prices and material costs. By implementing these measures, bridge builders can maintain profitability and stay ahead of the competition in a challenging economic environment.

Build With U.S. Bridge

At U.S. Bridge, we know the significance bridges have on the prosperity and growth of a nation. That’s why partnering with a reputable organization with cutting-edge technology and production capabilities is crucial.
Contact us today to start your next project, or check out our premier BridgeScope tool to get a head start on the process.
2020 roadmap for construction

The new year has begun and the construction industry has a lot in store. In addition to setting new goals, we can celebrate the accomplishments of the previous year. Looking into 2020, the construction industry roadmap involves growth in all areas. According to Construction Dive, the 2019 construction industry saw overall market growth regardless of the added pressure and labor shortages. With this in mind, U.S. Bridge looks forward to rebuilding the industry while providing quality and care throughout the process. Here’s a construction outlook of the last decade.

Construction Outlook: Projects on the Way

While there have been labor shortages, the demand for construction has been at an all-time high. Engineering and construction firms are expected to potentially benefit from several significant opportunities in the industry. For example, an upgrade in US transportation and infrastructure as well as the rise of smart city mega-projects. U.S. bridge makes transportation possible by connecting communities through quality bridges. So, the 2020 roadmap for construction will likely involve new bridges.

“As with all other trades, we are hopeful that construction will pick up in 2020,”

Damien T.K. Kim, Business Manager/Financial Secretary

Technology and Innovation

More than ever, technology is being utilized on a day to day basis. In fact, the use of machines has helped to boost innovation among businesses and industries. For this reason, it has also helped to enhance the construction industry. One of the main benefits of technology is its ability to replace manual labor and complete tasks efficiently. Technology strengthens collaboration among workers and makes data accessible to companies as a whole. For example, cloud technology in the construction industry has also become considerably beneficial. All this to say, technology will likely play a great role in the 2020 roadmap for construction.

Economic Forecast

In September 2019, America’s unemployment had reached its lowest observable rate since 1969. This leaves significant room for improvements in the coming years. However, the lack of inflation generated by the U.S. economy has shocked many. Explanations of this include a weakening global economy, the Amazon effect, and worker productivity growth.

Choose U.S. Bridge

At U.S. Bridge we are confident in meeting your needs and believe in bringing progress to the construction industry. Our bridge building process involves a precise process. We recognize and understand that your bridge is a major investment. So, we’re here to help you from the beginning of your project through the end. Get a quote today!