Mexicans might make $6.00 an hour in Iowa, but in the Southwest they make $20 to $30 an hour doing work that other ethnicities simply will not do. I'm a white guy, and have been in homebuilding for decades. You simply can not hire white people who will work, regardless of what you pay them. The Southwest is being built by hardworking well paid Mexicans. There are tremendous difficulties to using non-English speaking labor, and it would be great if whites would do manual labor for $20 an hour, but they won't. So-oooo to get the job done, you have to use the hardworking people who will do it.
I used to work for a HB and one thing I did realize was you couldn't get locals to do the work. And if you did they were all ex-cons or drugusers. True the Mexicans worked pretty hard and I did like them. I never saw any of them making 20 to 30 a hour though. If they were they sure were doing a good job at hiding it.
In Phoenix, we have a work force to build 40K homes a year. With 60K last year, and 60K+ this year we need more construction workers than ever. Framing companys drive job sites offering $1000 hiring bonuses and $2 to $5 an hour over whatever they're being paid - simply drop what you're doing and come work for us. Anyone who wants a job, can have one. But do you want to frame in the sun when it's 120 degrees? As a builder, when you're waiting 2+ months just to get a framing crew, waiting an extra 2 to 3 weeks each for stucco and drywall crews, you pay whatever the crews want. On another note - to the Shorts who consistently try to convince us that the sky is falling on Homebuilding. Last year and now this year. You're not self fullfilling your prophecy by your dumping pump. I've more respect for the corporate pumpers and the pump & dumpers. The reality is that, even after completely eliminating sales to investors, there simply isn't a way to build all of the homes already sold. Let me restate - My company builds 1000 homes a year, we do not sell to investors or second home buyers. We might be able to execute on 1100 homes this year. It's the end of February and we have 1050 in the pipeline to close in 2005. We need more hardworking Mexicans.