Worker shortages hitting these five professions

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Jobs in a number of industries have been experiencing shortages of workers. 

Some major industries that have been affected include air traffic controllers, teachers, bus drivers, pilots and airline mechanics and construction and manufacturing workers. Those jobs provide vital services in the U.S.

FOX Business takes a closer look.

Construction & Manufacturing

For the construction industry, about 363,000 job openings existed in July, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That marked a nearly 6% decrease month-over-month and a 2.8% increase year-over-year. 

“Unfortunately, the demand for construction workers remains elevated relative to supply,” Anirban Basu, chief economist at the Associated Builders and Contractors, said in a press release about the data. “While the number of open, unfilled construction jobs declined in July, 4.4% of industrywide positions are currently unfilled, a greater share than one year ago and at the start of the pandemic.”


Meanwhile, the preliminary BLS job openings data for July showed a total of 550,000 job openings in manufacturing. In the same month in 2022, openings were 885,000, according to the BLS. 

Pilots & Airline Mechanics

Pilots and aviation mechanics, both of which perform critical functions for air travel, are in short supply.

On the pilot front, Oliver Wyman pegged the shortage at roughly 17,000 across North America for the year. It will also hover around that projected level in 2032, marking an easing from the consulting firm’s prior expectations, and hit a peak shortage of 24,000 along the way in 2026. 

Some factors Oliver Wyman attributed the improvement in the shortage to included a “larger pool of new candidates” and “reduced levels of flying, particularly by regional airlines.”

In 2023, the industry in North America will have to contend with a shortage of 12,000-18,000 maintenance technicians, the firm has also projected. The dearth of those workers could hit nearly 43,000 in four years. 

Training programs and airlines have been working to bring more mechanics to the sector, FOX Business previously reported. 

Bus Drivers

In many places, children have already started the 2023-2024 school year, and others have their own first days around the corner. That comes amid a longtime bus driver shortage. 

HopSkipDrive recently said it found that the share of respondents that described their transportation operations as “somewhat constrained” by a lack of bus drivers came in at 62.5%. For 29.5%, they reported it was “severely constrained.” The respondents were school officials.

FOX Business previously reported about instances of school districts seeing buses delayed in the morning and afternoon or even canceling a day of classes. 


Shortages of teachers and other education staff have been ongoing. 

The National Education Association told FOX Business that, based on its analysis, public education has seen a 38% increase in job openings compared to June 2019, with the level hitting 309,000 in June this year. For 2023, job openings in the sector have averaged 322,500, a level that represents the “second-highest” ever, according to the NEA.

The levels of teacher salaries and support, among other factors, have contributed to the shortages that school districts have been facing. For the 2021-2022 school year, public school teachers got paid $66,745 on average, up slightly from the prior year but not on-pace with inflation over 10 years, an April report from the NEA found. 

Air Traffic Controllers

The Office of the Inspector General for the Transportation Department reported nearly 10,600 certified professional controllers worked for the Federal Aviation Administration in 2022, plus a couple thousand still in training. The number of certified ones has since seen a small increase, Reuters reported. 

In the report from the DOT’s OIG, it found “20 of 26 (77 percent) critical facilities are staffed below the Agency’s 85-percent threshold” for certified air traffic controllers.

 The FAA has been working to address the shortage exacerbated by COVID-19. 


It recently revealed 1,500 air traffic controllers had been brought on to its payrolls this year. For next year, the agency said it wants to complete the recruitment of 1,800 more, something it has requested federal funds for. 

Training is currently underway for about 2,600. 

Daniella Genovese and Madison Scarpino contributed to this report.

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