The Q3 State of the Trades is here! As we do every quarter, alongside our friends at Zillow New Construction, let’s take a look at the trends across skilled trade hiring, and analyze what these numbers mean and what predictions they provide for the coming months.

, BlueRecruit


  1. Markets have settled into their post-COVID norms:
  • The Sunshine State is growing and there is nothing to indicate that growth across Florida will slow any time soon. Florida has led the demand for skilled workers every quarter of 2023, and has been a Top 6 growth market for the last two years. With the need brought on by Hurricane Idalia and Florida being the #1 destination for relocating Americans, this demand will continue throughout 2024.
  • It is now safe to say that a majority of Job Seekers, typically about 53%, are open to relocating states for the right opportunity. As home builders, we know that we now live in a far more mobile society than before COVID. For the past three years, no less than 51% of skilled workers have been open to relocation.

Pro Tip: Don’t limit your talent search to your backyard. Advertise your company and opportunities across state lines and use relocation assistance to attract talent.

  • The Automotive Industry continues to lead demand for skilled workers across all skilled trade industries. For the third straight quarter, Auto Mechanics/Technicians remain the most in demand trades people nationwide. This demand has increased average hourly pay by over $6 phr in 2023…no wonder just an oil change is 100+ bucks now!

Our suggestion: If you know a young person interested in the trades, have them explore the Automotive Industry – the growth potential is fantastic!

  • General Labor has been on the decline throughout 2023. Average hourly pay is now at $19.46 phr, down from a high in Q4-2022 of $22.45.

Our suggestion: If you are an entry-level worker, it is time to begin upskilling and developing your craft. The coming onset of robotics and AI will soon allow for low skilled roles to be completed with automation; however, the need for skilled tradespeople will NEVER go away.

  1. Although the US is currently at Full Employment, Employers continue to increase their Job Seeker requirements:
  • For the first time since the onset of COVID-19, a majority of Employers are now requiring new hires to have a clean criminal record. As we predicted in past SoTTs, the percentage of Employers that are waiving Criminal Backgrounds, not having an active Driver’s License, and/or having any Education minimums are all declining. In Q3-2022, a whopping 80% of Employers were waiving Criminal Backgrounds, and 77% had no minimum Education requirements for new hires.

Pro Tip: We totally understand that for some jobs, a clean criminal record is necessary (i.e. government contracts, working inside customers’ homes); however, we highly encourage Employers to not immediately block Job Seekers due to criminal backgrounds. Every person and every situation is different, and unless the job is impossible due to background, please try and keep an open mind. Also, check with your CPA or Tax Professional as new hires with criminal backgrounds may qualify your company for a bond and/or tax breaks.

  • Contrary to the decline we are seeing in General Labor hourly pay, salaries for skilled tradespeople like HVAC Technicians, Plumbers, and Garage Door Technicians continue to increase. For example, thanks in large part to this summer feeling in many places like the surface of the Sun, HVAC Technician pay increased an average of $1.05 from Q2.

Pro Tip: Employers must stay informed of market salaries. Relying on government statistics like the Department of Labor is simply too delayed and will result in an inability to compete for top talent. Our suggestion…keep reading the State of the Trades!

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 desperate for their talent. They have removed the inefficiencies of resumes and job posts and focus on the skills and experiences that matter.