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Builders throughout the country are struggling to find workers, and it's causing major problems: Labor costs are rising, homes are taking longer to complete and buyers are facing higher prices.

"We are now at the point that there is a serious shortage of workers," said Jerry Howard, CEO of the National Association of Home Builders. "It's a real problem that ripples throughout the home-building process that ultimately costs the consumer."

When the housing market collapsed nearly a decade ago, home construction came to a screeching halt, leaving many workers in the field without jobs.

Workers fled to other industries or other countries, and many haven't come back. Some took jobs in the manufacturing and auto industries, while others found work in the energy sector.

"Simply, they were getting any work they could and had to go into other sectors to find ways to put food on the table," said Howard.

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