U.S. Skilled Trades Labor Shortage Heightens as In-Demand Jobs Remain Unfilled the Longest

Opportunity to fill the labor gap is wide open for those looking for jobs, says skilled trades division of PeopleReady.

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TACOMA, Wash.March 18, 2021—While millions of Americans affected by pandemic job loss are still looking for work, the number of skilled trade jobs in the U.S. is far outpacing the supply of qualified workers to fill them. A new analysis by the skilled trades division of staffing leader PeopleReady finds that the most in-demand skilled trade jobs are remaining unfilled the longest—roughly a month on average—due to the shortage of qualified workers.

The skilled trades labor shortage—predominantly driven by a mass exit of baby boomers retiring from the sector—can be an opportunity for people looking for work, especially those who have little to no experience in the skilled trades and need job training, says PeopleReady.

“The skilled trades are in dire need of workers right now, with a particularly high demand for apprentice-level and skilled labor positions. These are steady, well-paying jobs that hold a bright future, even in an unpredictable economic climate,” said Jill Quinn, executive leader of PeopleReady Skilled Trades. “For the millions of Americans who are struggling in their job hunt right now, our message is simple: Consider a career in the skilled trades.”

In the company’s analysis of hundreds of thousands of skilled trade jobs across the nation, PeopleReady found the following helper and apprentice-level areas in most need of workers based on growth in demand over the past month and length of time that jobs typically remain unfilled:

  • Plumber apprentices: Job postings have increased by 24% in the past month, and jobs are sitting unfilled for an average of 29 days.
  • Roofer apprentices: 50%; 39 days.
  • Carpenter helpers: 12%; 28 days.
  • Carpentry apprentices: 33%; 31 days.
  • Construction workers: 17%; 27 days.
  • Electrician helpers: 15%; 27 days.

The median hourly rate for helper-level skilled trade jobs is $16 an hour—or roughly $33,000 a year—and can pay up to 50% higher with additional training.

PeopleReady Skilled Trades works throughout the nation to connect tradespeople, from highly skilled to apprentice-level and beginner, with work across a variety of trades. To learn more, visit skilled.peopleready.com.

About PeopleReady Skilled Trades

PeopleReady Skilled Trades is a specialized division of PeopleReady, a TrueBlue company (NYSE: TBI). Since 1987, this specialized division has connected tradespeople and work across a wide range of trades, including carpentry, electrical, plumbing, welding, solar installations and more. Whether customers need a single tradesperson or require a coordinated effort to dispatch trades workers across multiple projects, PeopleReady Skilled Trades ensures they have the right people with the right tools, on-site and on time. Learn more at skilled.peopleready.com.

Media Contact

David Irwin
PeopleReady Communications Director

PeopleReady, a TrueBlue company (NYSE: TBI), specializes in quick and reliable on-demand labor and highly skilled workers. PeopleReady supports a wide range of industries, including construction, manufacturing and logistics, retail and hospitality. Leveraging its game changing JobStack staffing app and presence in more than 600 markets throughout North America, PeopleReady served approximately 83,000 businesses and put approximately 226,000 people to work in 2022.