Stephen Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America last week called for continual investment in infrastructure to offset devastating losses in construction employment.
“Today’s jobs figures highlight the devastating impact current economic conditions are having on the construction industry,” Sandherr said. “In June alone, construction employment declined by 79,000 jobs, seasonally adjusted, while over the past 12 months 992,000 construction workers have lost their jobs. Indeed, while overall unemployment is 9.7 percent (9.5 percent, seasonally adjusted), over 17.4 percent of construction workers are now unemployed. While there is little doubt that the stimulus has helped slow the decline, the fact remains the construction industry has many long, slow and difficult months ahead as the $1 trillion dollar construction market continues to suffer from declining state and local revenue, little demand for commercial or retail facilities and shrinking orders for new factories and facilities.
“The Administration and Congress must see today’s figures as a reminder to stimulate new commercial lending and hasten non-transportation stimulus construction projects that have by and large yet to begin. And they must not delay action on a host of other infrastructure work, including the surface transportation, aviation and water infrastructure legislation. If the stimulus is followed with inaction and political gridlock, many thousands more construction workers will soon be out of work.”