One Reason for Dallas’ Soaring Home Prices and Labor Shortage: Immigrants Aren’t Coming to Work

Dallas home prices are climbing rapidly, and homebuilders are complaining about labor shortages and soaring wages for construction workers. But something else makes this housing boom different from others: Immigrants aren’t riding to the rescue.For decades, Mexicans and other foreign-born workers have been coming to Texas to build homes, apartments and office towers. By one estimate, they fill almost half the construction jobs in the state, which is about twice as many as in the rest of the nation.That total includes legal and unauthorized immigrants. In the construction industry, both groups are roughly the same size in the U.S., according to the Pew Research Center.Texas has been a jobs magnet for immigrants because of close ties with Mexico and the amount of work available. But the flow of people has slowed significantly -- first, as a result of the housing bust and deep recession, and more recently with the focus on immigration laws and border security.“We’ve been very reliant on these workers since the late ‘70s,” said Pia Orrenius, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “But the age of cheap labor in the U.S. is over.”  Continue reading...

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