Report details labor shortages from climate, infrastructure laws

By Brian Dabbs | 02/28/2024 06:16 AM EST

An analysis shared first with E&E News from the BlueGreen Alliance predicts a labor shortage of more than 1 million workers.

Utility workers repair a power line in New Orleans.

Utility workers repairing a power line in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The U.S. is running short on workers in occupations that are central to the Biden administration’s clean energy agenda, according to a new report first shared with E&E News and commissioned by the BlueGreen Alliance, a trade group representing labor and environmental groups.

Nearly 175,000 worker shortages are expected for truck and tractor-trailer driving positions once spending from the Inflation Reduction Act, 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law, and the semiconductor-focused CHIPS and Science Act is at full statutory levels and all cash has been released, says the study, which will be released Wednesday. It was co-commissioned by the nonprofit National Skills Coalition, which backs worker training programs and authored by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Political Economy Research Institute.
says the study

Together, the worker shortages are expected to total nearly 1.1 million for 20 occupations that require entry-level certifications or other requirements, the report says. Other fields with major projected shortages include electrical power-line installers and repairers, carpenters, water and wastewater treatment operators, and “first-line supervisors” for construction and extraction projects.


“Construction is by far the sector with the highest concentration of occupational employment that is likely to experience labor shortages as BIL, IRA, and CHIPS investments expand to reach their full targeted levels,” says the report. Fourteen of the 20 occupations with anticipated labor shortages are in construction, it says.