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Commercial real estate industry may face labor shortages

As the commercial real estate industry in Texas and elsewhere struggles with how to keep a workforce in coming decades due to the mass retirement of baby boomers, the government is set on a course of immigration restrictions. The effect of that policy may be to reduce drastically the number of immigrants available to work many of the traditional commercial real estate jobs on the market. It is also seen that U.S.-born residents of working age are on the decline for the future.

The usual challenge of getting good workers may be made extremely difficult by the government's present policy of defeating the flow of immigrants into the country, according to a Cushman & Wakefield report. Today, there are nearly 27.5 million foreign-born workers in the country, and nearly 70 percent of them are within the ages of 25 and 64. This is a special concern for commercial real estate owners because 30 percent of the workforce in the industry is currently foreign-born.

Many experts view the government proposals as self-defeating because they do not appreciate that population and job growth have been driven by foreign-born workers in the past. Many businesses have already begun to plan for the crises that could arise in the future as labor shortages increase. It appears that restricting immigration could possibly increase wage growth because there would be fewer workers competing for jobs, according to some observers. However, U.S.-born workers would need additional training to fill the jobs that come up.

Texas is a state where these commercial real estate issues will be prominent. These issues are included in a report by Cushman & Wakefield called the "U.S. Immigration Policy Potential Impact on CRE." Government policy is not yet set in stone, and the political impact on elections coming up will likely influence how the immigrant laws will yet develop.

Source: forbes.com, "Clamping Down On Immigration Could Put The Squeeze On Commercial Real Estate Workforce," Julie Littman, Oct. 3, 2017

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