Construction Monkey

Construction Monkey Blog

Productivity Tracking

One of the biggest items on the minds of the American public is jobs.  With recent unemployment rates and especially construction unemployment rates, it is a very real concern.  So how do we create construction jobs?  Since most of us are not in Congress nor do we yield a money supply that could finance new construction our options are limited.  Those options seem to get all of the headlines and with the Stimulus act it makes a lot of us think that there is nothing we can do about jobs unless someone else comes in and finances them.  This may be true to a small extent, but let's remember that we live in a global economy and the companies, individuals, and economies that provide tangible value will get the financing.

So what can you do?  Become more efficient.  If you can perform your job more efficiently and you can make the others you work with more productive, you will create jobs.  The logic may not be so obvious at first glance.  "So if I get my job done in less time or with less people, how does that create jobs?"  Good question.  Jobs have always moved to the most productive in society.  If you look at a off-shoring of telemarketing jobs, they are moving because the actual amount of work per unit cost can be done more productiviely in places like India than New York City.  This is not a function of finding "cheap labor", but is a function of productivity.  Yes labor time and wages are both inputs in the function of productivity.

Maybe that example doesn't make perfect sense and creates a sense of fear, so let's look historically.  In the 1800's, we used to wash our clothes in tubs by hand.  The entire operation would take hours a day and the time from starting the washing to being able to use the clothes could be a day or two (pending on good weather for drying).  As innovators designed a new machine, we became more productive.  If we had put an hourly value on the labor to do the washing, purchasing a machine became an easy calculation.  We reduced the jobs of clothes washing, but instead created other jobs like engineers, manufacturers, salesmen, and distributors.

Trust me, that becoming more productive can create jobs.  If your company can do the work of 15 people with 10 people, you will win more work.  Your wages will increase as the value you provide in the productivity function will become more evident.  If we as an industry, wait for financing and protect jobs by being less productive we will die as individuals, companies, and economies.  In the global world, companies can build facilities anywhere, the most productive areas will get the investment.

For your part, think today and everyday what can you do to make your job more productive.  The great economies of the world have not protected jobs against productivity, but have grown to higher and higher levels of productivity.  If you don't believe me compare the American farmer's wealth, quality of life, and output the farmers in Asia.

About the Author

Craig Pierce

Craig Pierce has been working in the construction industry for the past 25 years helping subcontractors master their trade. Currently he is President of Atalanta Enterprises which provides consulting services to contractors And software solutions through