Massive infrastructure investments may cause labour shortages

The state and councils will spend 340 billion kroner on state infrastructure over the next decade and create around 40,000 jobs.

Over the next decade, 340 billion kroner will be invested in developing public infrastructure and hopefully create around 40,000 jobs, according to calculations made by financial daily Børsen. There are concerns, however, about a lack of skill labour to complete the planned construction work.

Ole Christiansen, chairman of the Aarhus Rymarken division of the union 3F, said the region has already started to witness a shortage of construction workers.

“I have to call around to other 3F departments in Jutland in order to find people for projects in Aarhus,” Christiansen told weekly newsletter Ugebrevet A4, adding that the demand for labourers in Aarhus has been stimulated by the construction of new housing blocks on Aarhus's harbour.

Christiansen’s assessment was supported by Peter Hougaard Nielsen, chairman of 3F’s construction division.

“As the situation stands now with all the projects that have started, we could easily end up lacking construction workers in the autumn,” Nielsen told Ugebrevet A4, adding that the government’s growth plan will reduce unemployment in construction after the end of the summer holiday.

“The home improvements tax deduction and the extra funds for renovating public housing will only create jobs," he said. "In the long-term, I can only be optimistic.”

Unemployment dropped by 500 people between January and February to 154,400 people according to Statistics Denmark. This corresponds to six percent of the labour force being out of work, although some fields are doing far better.

According to Ugebrevet A4, the number of unemployed electricians dropped from 4.7 percent to 3.3 percent nationwide and some areas of the country are even reporting almost 100 percent employment within the field. 

The weekly newsletter also reported that the Copenhagen and Zealand regions may not have enough engineers, bricklayers, electricians and plumbers to satisfy the demand in 2014 and 2015.

According to 3F, 1,034 infrastructure projects costing over 30 million kroner have so far been registered to start between 2012 and 2017. Together they will cost 222 billion kroner and require 222,000 man-years of work to complete.

The largest projects to start in the next decade are the 50 billion kroner Fehmarn Link tunnel to Germany, 16 billion kroner on new Metro lines in Copenhagen and 27 billion on upgrading the rail network.




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