The Associated General Contractors of America released a new national plan this week detailing measures to stimulate demand for construction. Officials said the plan was needed to reverse construction employment declines that have occurred in 317 of the United States’ 337 largest metro areas since January 2007.
“Our goal is to rebuild a devastated construction market that has left millions jobless, littered cities with incomplete projects and sapped much-needed revenue, commerce and customers out of our economy,” said Stephen Sandherr, AGC’s CEO. “Considering the scope and impact of construction job losses, the last thing any of us can afford is a repeat of the past four years.”
The plan, “Building a Stronger Future, a New Blueprint for Economic Growth” outlines measures to boost private sector demand for construction, tackle a growing infrastructure backlog and reduce red tape and regulations. Sandherr said the downturn has left 2.2 million construction workers unemployed and the industry’s unemployment rate at 21.8 percent, twice the national average.
Sandherr said the recovery plan emphasizes boosting private sector demand, which once accounted for 76 percent of all construction activity, but now only 60 percent. It calls for approving pending trade agreements to boost demand for manufacturing and shipping facilities, repealing the alternate minimum tax and making permanent the tax cuts put in place in 2001 and 2003. Sandherr added the plan includes measures to tackle infrastructure problems that cost American businesses an estimated $100 billion a year because of delays and lost productivity. It calls for reforms to federal surface, aviation and waterways programs.