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‘Troubling’ Times: AGC Reports Decrease in Construction Employment

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(Photo credit: iStock.com/interstid)

The construction sector can be a tumultuous one, as recent news from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) shows. This week, the AGC reported that construction employment dropped in 225 out of 358 metro areas between June 2019 and June 2020, even though the industry saw increases between May and June.

AGC appealed to government officials to enact liability reform, increase infrastructure investments and extend tax credits that for helping the industry recover. “It’s troubling to see construction employment lagging year-ago levels in most locations, in spite of a strong rebound in May and June,” AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson said. 

“Those gains were not enough to erase the huge losses in March and April,” he continued. “Many indicators since the employment data [was] collected in mid-June suggest construction employment will soon decline, or stagnate at best, in much of the country.”

According to Simonson, construction employment was stagnant in 39 metro areas and grew in only 94 areas in the past year. Although New York City had the largest increase from May to June, it has lost 38,200 jobs, which is the most over 12 months.

The AGC also addressed a new coronavirus recovery measure released this week by Senate Republican leaders. It features liability reforms so construction firms that protect workers from COVID-19 would not be subject to needless litigation, as well as improvement to the Paycheck Protection Program and expansion of the Employee Retention Tax Credit.

But AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr noted that it does not include infrastructure funding to rebuild the economy. “That new funding is needed to address state transportation funding shortfalls, fix aging public facilities and help retrofit structures to protect students and others from the coronavirus,” he said.

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