Eight percent of job losses in the United States during the current recession are in the construction equipment industry, a new study finds. The research, conducted by HIS Global Insight, an economic and financial analysis firm, was announced a day prior to the expiration of federal transportation funding.
“The current recession has placed a severe drag on the construction equipment industry, which is consequently holding back the broader economy from recovery,” said Scott Hazelton, director of construction services for HIS Global Insight and principal author of the study.
Other key findings include:
• The construction equipment industry — including manufacturing, distribution and equipment service facilities — has lost 37 percent of its workforce. By comparison, automobile manufacturing and dealership jobs are down by 16 percent, while job losses in the finance and insurance industry amount to 6 percent of their workforce.
• Spending on construction equipment has fallen by more than 50 percent compared to its peak in 2006.
• The economic output of this industry has contracted by nearly 40 percent and resulted in the loss of about 550,000 jobs.
• In 2008, the construction equipment industry contributed $243.3 billion in U.S. economic output and supported nearly 1.25 million jobs. The jobs supported by the construction equipment industry were roughly equal to the number of workers employed in manufacturing computer and electronic equipment.
• From peak to trough of the recession, roughly between 2006 and 2009, California has lost 53,368 construction equipment industry jobs, followed by Texas (53.020), Florida (33,063), Illinois (33,974), Pennsylvania (25,816), Ohio (24,632), New York (23,783), North Carolina (23,783), Georgia (17,497) and Virginia (16,701). The highest percentage loss were suffered by, in order, Wyoming, West Virginia, North Dakota, Iowa, Kentucky, Montana, South Dakota, Louisiana, Alabama and Kansas.
To draw attention to the losses in the construction equipment industry and seek legislative support for federal funding of transportation projects, a coalition of organization began Start Us Up USA, which began with a caravan of idle equipment parading down “The Strip” in Las Vegas. MaryKay Cashman, of Cashman Equipment, based in Henderson, Nev., said sales are down 50 percent and she has 25 percent fewer employees today compared to her peak business totals. The Start Us Up USA! campaign also held a rally in Washington, D.C. and unveiled a new website, www.StartUsUpUSA.com.“A safer, less congested transportation network is critical for America’s future economic prosperity,” said Association of Equipment Manufacturers and Associated Equipment Distributors in a joint statement. “Just as importantly, investing in these needed infrastructure improvements will spur a recovery in the struggling construction and manufacturing sectors while creating millions of good-paying jobs. Unnecessary delay in passing a transportation bill will prolong this depression for the men and women working in our in industry, not to mention force Americans to wait for safer roads and increased transit options.”