Bottom line, high interest rates and inflation are stunting growth across the skilled trades industry, particularly in the residential construction industry. As we predicted in last quarter’s State of the Trades, uncertainty and apprehension in the macroeconomic conditions continues to rear its ugly head. Let’s take a deep dive into the State of the Skilled Trades industry this past quarter.

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  1. The single most significant takeaway from this quarter’s report is the incredible 9% decline in Job Seekers open to relocation compared to Q1-2024.
    • For the first time since the start of the pandemic, less than a majority of Job Seekers are open to relocating for the right opportunity. Only 47% of Job Seekers in Q2-2024 stated their willingness to relocate, down from 56% in Q1 and 54% a year ago.
    • When asked, Job Seekers reported that their unwillingness to move was due mostly to high interest rates for the purchase of a new home and growing rental prices on new leases. We predict interest rates to remain at their current levels for the remainder of 2024; thus, this trend will pose a disproportionate challenge for rural and less populated areas that require outside talent relocating to fill their talent needs.

2. Yet again, North Carolina, Florida, and Texas are driving skilled trade job creation.

    • For the third straight quarter, North Carolina, Florida, and Texas lead the nation in both demand and overall job creation. However, high interest rates and lack of affordable housing for working-class individuals poses a significant threat for continued growth.
    • Automotive Mechanics and HVAC/R Technicians are again the most in-demand trades nationwide; however, both of these roles saw a decline of about a $1 in average hourly pay from Q1.

3. The manufacturing industry is seeing strong growth through the first half of 2024.

    • Manufacturing roles have accounted for 31% of the most in-demand jobs to date in 2024. This accounts for 11% of total job creation, a 2.5% increase from Q1. This is compared to a contraction of Construction jobs to only 44% of total demand, a drop of 6% form historical
    • Unstable overseas markets and the growth of automation technology is allowing for the return of advanced manufacturing and near-shoring opportunities. The key to maintaining this growth require companies to leverage technological advantages in AI and more efficient practices.


Meet BlueRecruit – Built for the Trades

BlueRecruit is a direct-hire marketplace for skilled-trade workers who want to build their careers and the companies seeking their talent. They remove the inefficiencies of resumes and job posts and focus on the skills and experiences that matter.