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$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Return of skilled workers eases acute shortage of skilled trades

Media release

Return of skilled workers eases acute shortage of skilled trades

Media release
“The HIA Trades Report for the June Quarter 2023 shows continued improvement in the availability of skilled tradespeople across the country,” stated HIA Senior Economist Tom Devitt.

The HIA Trades Report released today provides a quarterly review of the availability of skilled trades and any demand pressures on trades operating in the residential building industry.

“While the Index still reflects some of the most acute shortages of skilled tradespeople since HIA started this Report in 2003, the trajectory is most encouraging,” added Mr Devitt.

“The Report’s Trades Availability Index registered -0.62 for the June Quarter 2023, compared to the -0.92 peak a year ago. An index of less than zero represents a shortage of tradespeople and an index of greater than zero represents a surplus.

“Some of the greatest improvements in availability over the last year have been in the trades of carpentry, roofing, and bricklaying, precisely where the most acute shortages had been a year ago.

“The return of skilled workers since the re-opening of Australia’s international borders in late 2021, is making a difference to a number of sectors, including house and apartment construction, and manufacturing businesses.

“As tradespeople have become more available, the price of trades has also slowed. The price of skilled trades increased by 3.4 per cent in the last year, compared to the 10 per cent peak a year earlier. This is much closer to the 2 per cent average annual increase that prevailed in the decade-and-a-half before the pandemic.

“The outlook is that as home building activity declines, demand for skilled trades will slow further. 

“The rise in the RBA’s cash rate over the last year has seen a significant drop in new work entering the pipeline. The record volume of projects awaiting commencement has shrunk, but there are still more than 100,000 houses under construction around the country.

“Builders have struggled to complete these projects, held back by the materials and labour shortages that have plagued the industry in the last few years.

“Next year, the rise in interest rates that we have already seen is expected to produce the weakest year of new house commencements since 2012. An increasing number of projects will also reach completion.

“This is expected to produce a further easing of trades shortages, with the volume of homes under construction shrinking rapidly from late this year.

“Next year will be the ideal time for governments to start investing in new public housing stock. The timing of this investment will not only ensure that governments are able to gain the greatest return on their investment, as costs and delays will be at a minimum, but also ensure that skilled tradespeople are not lost to other industries and that the industry can rebound on the other side of this RBA-induced trough,” concluded Mr Devitt.

HIA Trade Availability Index

Source: HIA Trades Report

For more information please contact:

Tim Reardon

Chief Economist

Thomas Devitt

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