Official Construction Employment Statistics Worsen in 42 States
Construction employment in January remained below pre-pandemic levels in all but eight states, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government employment data released today. Association officials said the jobs figures and survey results underscore the need for federal measures to stem future sector job losses.
“Despite improvement in many sectors of the economy, nonresidential contractors are coping with widespread project cancellations and postponements, soaring materials costs, and lengthening delivery times,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “That combination makes further job cuts likely in many states.”
The survey, which included responses from nearly 1500 firms, found 34% had reduced their employee count in the past year, compared to just 20% that had added employees. More than three-fourths of the firms had experienced project cancellations or deferrals, while only 21% reported winning new projects or add-ons to existing projects in the past two months.
Association officials said demand for construction will continue to suffer amid pandemic-induced economic uncertainty and urged federal officials to enact measures to help stem additional job losses in the sector. These new measures should include new federal investments in infrastructure, ending tariffs on key construction materials, addressing supply chain backups and avoiding costly and unneeded new regulatory burdens.
“The pandemic is driving away projects, contributing to spiking materials prices and helping make delivery schedules unreliable,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Contractors will not be able to build back better if they have to keep paying higher prices for materials that rarely arrive on time.”