US Skilled Trades Worker Shortage Worsening Amid Soaring Demand & Workforce Crisis

Job postings up 50% from pre-pandemic levels, according to analysis by PeopleReady Skilled Trades; industries ripe for those looking for career changes.

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TACOMA, Wash.—Aug. 5, 2021—You may have noticed construction projects are taking longer to complete these days and the timeline for home repairs is getting stretched out even further. The primary reason? Skyrocketing demand and a worsening shortage of workers in the skilled trades where the need was already far outpacing the number of tradespeople available before the pandemic, according to a new analysis by PeopleReady’s skilled trades division. There were 388,345 jobs posted for skilled trades-related workers between May and June, a 50% increase from pre-pandemic levels—with most positions remaining unfilled for an average of 24 days.

According to the PeopleReady Skilled Trades analysis of millions of job postings, skilled trades were one of the few industries to experience growth nearly every month throughout the pandemic. However, the number of skilled tradespeople, already at a massive deficit, didn’t keep up. Amid an overall workforce shortage, the gap between demand and supply for tradespeople is only growing wider. But it has created significant opportunities for anyone looking to make a career change.

“Whether you’re someone who left the skilled trades to pursue other work or are looking to get your start on a new career path in a booming industry, now is a great time to join the skilled trades. The jobs not only pay well and provide steady employment but can also offer the kind of flexibility workers are looking for right now,” said Jill Quinn, executive leader of PeopleReady Skilled Trades. “We are seeing explosive growth in the skilled trades industry right now. As businesses struggle to find skilled tradespeople amid current workforce challenges, more of them are turning to contingent workforces to help get the job done.”

According to the analysis comparing job posting growth since before the pandemic, some of the skilled jobs that have seen the most growth include:

  • Concrete masons top the list with 904% growth in demand compared to pre-pandemic numbers.
  • Job postings for window glaziers soared 422%.
  • House painters saw a 329% increase.
  • Electricians have risen 130%.
  • Plumbers are up 129%.
  • And carpenters are up 121%.

PeopleReady Skilled Trades notes that in addition to the need for skilled tradespeople, there are also plenty of helper or beginner positions available in nearly all of the trades for those looking to get their start in the skilled trades.

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

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.