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Starwood's Sternlicht says homebuilders are having trouble finding workers

Marc Lasry and Barry Sternlicht at Delivering Alpha in New York on Sept. 13, 2016.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Marc Lasry and Barry Sternlicht at Delivering Alpha in New York on Sept. 13, 2016.

Barry Sternlicht does not buy the picture of a floundering U.S. economy.

The economy is "not bad" despite concerns about meager gross domestic product growth and weak productivity, the Starwood Capital Group chairman and CEO said Tuesday at the Delivering Alpha conference sponsored by CNBC and Institutional Investor.

He highlighted spending at his company's malls, apartments and hotels, and said homebuilders even have trouble finding workers to build houses.

"We don't know where all these people went, construction workers," Sternlicht said. "We thought they were fracking and then fracking blew up and we don't know where they went."

He added that he is surprised the U.S. did not fall into recession when oil prices collapsed after the fracking boom.