Construction firms are having a hard time finding workers and expect the situation to persist over the next 12 months. That's the finding of a survey released last week by the trade group Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk, a design, engineering and construction software company.

Seventy percent of construction firms, many of them small businesses, are have problems finding workers to fill hourly craft positions that are the majority of the construction workforce, according to the survey. Sixty-seven percent predicted it would be hard to fill positions over the next 12 months.

A worker shortage at companies could affect the amount of building activity in the U.S., said Stephen Sandherr, CEO of the contractors group.

"In the short-term, fewer firms will be able to bid on construction projects if they are concerned they will not have enough workers to meet demand," he said in a statement.

The survey questioned 1,600 Associated General Contractors of America members during July and August.


Although women have historically run behind men in business, they're upbeat about women's future as owners or workers, according to a survey released last week by Bank of America.

Two-thirds of women entrepreneurs said they believe there will be more companies owned by women than by men over the next 20 years, the survey found. Eighty percent expect women to fill more jobs, in the STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math, fields, and possibly have as many jobs in those fields as men do. And nearly 70 percent expect women to have as many senior executive jobs in corporations as men do, and possibly have more.

Women owners are also increasingly upbeat about the economy's likelihood of improving over the next 12 months. Forty-five percent are confident about their local economies, up from 37 percent in a survey last year, and 44 percent are confident about the national economy, up from 25 percent. But they are more conservative than men owners — 54 percent of men owners are optimistic about their local economies and 58 percent are optimistic about the national economy, the survey found.


Business owners can feel overwhelmed by all the details they believe they need to consider when putting together plans for their companies. An alternative is to aim for simplicity. SCORE, the organization that offers free counseling to small businesses, is sponsoring an online seminar on putting together a one-page plan of action. It will be held Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 1 p.m. Eastern time. Learn more and register at .