Contractors were forced to pay more for labor. What you need to know if you plan to make renovations.

There is a good chance that you may be getting paid more now than before the COVID-19 explosion, although higher inflation could affect your higher salary.

In many industries, financial experts say, the pandemic has certainly forced wages to rise.

“You have to look at commerce, transportation and utilities if you want to find a wage gain in New Jersey last year, adjusted for inflation, of about 2.6%, but also manufacturing jobs also saw a wage gain of about 1.7%,” he says. Caleb Silver from Investopedia. “Private and small businesses that actually produce one-of-a-kind items – up about 0.7% and construction – very small gains – are up about 0.2%, adjusted for inflation.”

When it comes to wage increases and the construction industry specifically, have you tried getting bids for any renovations to your home lately? The increased prices can be a hard pill to swallow – and now, the higher prices are associated with contractors being forced to pay more for work, because they still can’t get enough people to work.

Atif Dukes owns Dukes and Dukes Construction. He says contractors like himself are overwhelmed right now, and material costs are high — and so is the cost of labor to get jobs done.

“Yes. There is too much demand and too little help,” says Dukes.

With home prices soaring, he says many of his clients are making the decision to stay in their homes and renovate their homes rather than move in. As a result, it is difficult for contractors to keep up with demand.

“I don’t do construction work, but I went to a construction worker and he told me it’s been two years,” Dukes says. “If your home is to be remodeled on a large scale, some clients will take apartments for an entire year.”

With so much work and so few workers available, the pay scale is rising, but he can’t let that jeopardize his lifestyle.

“Because the bottom line is a business we depend on to feed our families and our margins are very low,” Dukes says.

That’s why Atef came up with one way to offset the rising labor costs.

“Most of the guys I find are going to vocational schools, and various community programs that try to find younger workers,” Dukes says.

He wishes he had the same amount of control over the cost of materials.

“Some homeowners don’t understand they don’t understand why it’s so expensive six months ago, you said you’d cost me $20,000 for a deck, now it’s $40,000 on deck and they think it’s a theft,” Dukes says.

Economists say inflation may actually end up helping business owners like Atif because it will eventually slow the economy, and workers may basically start getting more desperate to work. But Atif does not see how that could be possible.

“I don’t understand the philosophy of low wages,” Dukes says. “It doesn’t make sense. I don’t see it now – I don’t feel it and I don’t see it.”

Atif says that contractors desperate for workers may inadvertently end up hiring some who say they know how to do a job, but contractors will then find out they don’t.

He’s talking with organizations about starting an incentive plan for experienced home improvement workers to accept more jobs.

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