SOURCE: Industrial Info Resources

Industrial Info Resources

January 06, 2014 06:30 ET

Great Lakes to Feel Tightening Skilled Craft Labor Market, an Industrial Info News Alert

SUGAR LAND, TX--(Marketwired - Jan 6, 2014) - Researched by Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas) -- As multiple large industrial projects are set to be under construction simultaneously in the Great Lakes region over the next few years, the area's demand for skilled craft labor is expected to steadily increase between now and 2016. Industrial Info forecasts that labor demand for eight skilled crafts, including welders, pipefitters, electricians and boilermakers, will rise by almost 5 million man-hours between 2013 and 2016 in the region.

After peaking at approximately 28.17 million hours in 2011, skilled craft labor demand in the Great Lakes region has been declining, reaching a trough in 2013 of 21.9 million hours. However, this is set to change. Industrial Info's most recent update of the Great Lakes Region Labor Assessment Annual Subscription forecasts that regional labor demand will climb to 26.8 million man-hours by 2016 and remain above 26 million hours through 2017.

Labor activity in many of the areas surrounding the Great Lakes will change as project activity shifts, but the largest concentrated rise in demand, which will certainly have an effect on wages and availability throughout the region, will occur in the area around Toledo, Ohio. Craft labor demand here is expected to more than triple between 2013 and 2016. In this area in 2014, Industrial Info is forecasting an 85% labor utilization rate for boilermakers that could lead to poor retention, higher retention bonuses, and lesser productivity. Industrial Info also expects tight demand in the area for instrumentation techs in the area this year, while the utilization rate for electricians and welders is forecast to be about 60% each.

The overall increase in labor use in the Toledo area is primarily due to Husky Energy's (NYSE:HSE) upgrade and unit addition projects at its refinery in Lima, Ohio, as well as similar projects at its Toledo Refinery, which it owns jointly with BP plc (NYSE:BP). The projects are designed to increase the refineries' crude slates to process heavy Canadian crude and a have a combined total investment value (TIV) of more than $5 billion. Various pieces of the projects are set to kick off from 2015 onward, with overall completion slated for 2017. These projects are causing labor demand in the Toledo area to increase from 3.15 million hours in 2013 to 9.78 million in 2015, remaining above 9.4 million hours in 2016 before the projects begin winding down. 

In southernmost Indiana, several emissions-control projects are set to kick off in the next few years. These projects, coupled with $2.8 billion of fertilizer projects that are planned to kick off in 2014, are set to drive up craft labor demand in the area from about 2 million hours in 2013 to about 4.8 million hours in 2015, when construction activity peaks -- a 140% increase.

Industrial Info's Great Lakes Region Labor Assessment Annual Subscription, which includes tracking of wage and per diem rates and labor utilization figures, is a subscription-based product that is updated quarterly, designed to provide recruiters and employment executives insight into where the highest and lowest craft labor populations exist, and the percentage rates of historical and forecast growth and contraction. To learn more about this product and the shifting labor market, contact Tony Salemme, vice president of Industrial Info's Craft Labor Group, at or by calling (209) 547-9878.

Industrial Info Resources (IIR), with global headquarters in Sugar Land, Texas, three offices in North America and nine international offices, is the leading provider of global market intelligence specializing in the industrial process, heavy manufacturing and energy markets. Industrial Info's quality-assurance philosophy, the Living Forward Reporting Principle™, provides up-to-the-minute intelligence on what's happening now, while constantly keeping track of future opportunities. To contact an office in your area, visit the "Contact Us" page.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Tony Salemme
    (209) 547-9878