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The State of Skilled Trades in Florida: 2019-2020 Update

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Construction firms across the U.S. report struggling to find skilled tradespeople, and the situation is especially dire in Florida.[1][2] The problem even has a name, the skilled trades shortage.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering training to become a welder, electrician or HVAC technician in Florida in 2019 or 2020.

Is There a Skilled Trades Shortage in Florida?

Most states are experiencing the shortage and Florida is no different.

Worldwide Skilled Trades Shortage

Globally, positions for welders, electricians and other skilled craftspeople consistently rank as the most difficult to fill, reports the ManpowerGroup.

U.S. Skilled Trades Shortage

In the U.S., the problem is the same: skilled trades jobs are the number one hardest to fill with qualified workers.1

Florida Skilled Trades Shortage

Eighty-two percent of construction firms in Florida reported planning to hire additional hourly craft personnel in the next twelve months in 2018. But seventy-nine percent of companies indicated they were struggling to place workers with the right skills in some or all positions for hourly and salaried craft professionals, according to a survey by the Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk.2

In Miami, Florida, the situation is especially dire. Local contractors say they’re finding it challenging to hire enough qualified electricians, plumbers, brick masons and carpenters to meet demand, despite salaries as high as $55,000 to $75,000 a year with full benefits and pension for some of these jobs, reports the Miami Herald.

So the answer is, “yes,” by many accounts there is a skilled trades shortage in Florida.

How Many Skilled Trades Jobs Are There in Florida?

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Construction contractors are reporting difficulty hiring qualified skilled trades workers, which suggests there are jobs for these professionals in Florida. The question for anyone considering training for trades professions in the state is, “How many skilled trades jobs are there in Florida?”

Let’s take a look at the data on three skilled trades in Florida: welder, HVAC technician and electrician. This can provide a better picture of the state of skilled trades in the state.

How Many Welding Jobs Are There in Florida?

Welders held 13,200 welding jobs in Florida in 2017, indicates the BLS.[3] The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) reports 1,812 welding job openings in the state in 2019-2020.[4] According to the DEO, 1.41 percent annual job growth for welders is expected over the year.

The Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk survey showed 100 percent of construction firms reported that filling jobs for pipefitters and welders was more challenging in 2018 than in 2017.2

In 2017, welders earned an average annual income of $37,630, notes the BLS. Their average hourly wage was $18.09 that year.5 The DEO has yet to report welder wage data for 2019-2020.5

How Many Electrician Jobs Are There in Florida?

Electricians occupied 36,820 jobs in Florida in 2017, according to the BLS.5 The DEO reports that there were 5,442 electrician job openings in the state in 2019-2020, with 1.07 percent employment growth predicted for the year.5

The Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk survey noted 100 percent of Florida contractors said filling positions for electricians was more difficult in 2018 than in 2017.2

Electricians took home, on average, $44,270 a year and $21.28 an hour in 2017, indicates the BLS. The DEO has not yet reported electrician income statistics for 2019-2020.5

How Many HVAC Jobs Are There in Florida?

The BLS says a total of 29,450 HVAC technicians were employed in Florida in 2017.5 There were 4,281 job openings for HVAC technicians notes DEO data for 2019-2020, with the agency anticipating a 1.67 percent increase in jobs for the year.5

The Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk survey did not report specifically on HVAC technicians, but found that 83 percent of firms indicated difficulty hiring installers and 69 percent mechanics.2  The BLS classifies HVAC technicians as heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics and installers.[5]

The average annual salary for HVAC techs in Florida was $42,260 in 2017. They earned $20.32 an hour, on average, reports the BLS.[6] Data from the DEO is not yet out for 2019-2020.5

Train for the Skilled Trades in Florida

If you’re interested in working in the skilled trades in Florida, training at a trade school can be a way to enter these fields. In fact, the BLS states that employers typically prefer job candidates with welding training or HVAC training, and that some electricians get their start by completing technical school.[7][8]

If you’re considering a career wiring in northeastern Florida, here’s what you need to know about how to become an electrician in Jacksonville.

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