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975,000 Construction Jobs Lost in April 2020

RCS Construction Jobs
May 12, 2020

By Karen L. Edwards, RCS Editor.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced in its Employment Situation Summary that construction employment fell by 975,000 in April and that 691,000 of those were specialty trade contractors.

The Associated General Contractors (AGC) released a survey that shows, in combination with data from construction technology company Procore that there is deteriorating demand for construction. Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, said in a statement, “Today’s jobs report, our new survey results and Procore’s data make it clear that the construction industry is not immune to the economic damage being inflicted on our country by the pandemic.”  He continued to say that without federal help, the construction industry will not be able to recover any time soon.

Simonson said the number of jobs lost represents about 13 percent of the industry’s employment and was the worse decline ever. The survey of more than 800 construction companies showed that 30 percent of firms report projects halted by government order and 37 percent report that their owners have voluntarily stopped work due to coronavirus concerns. Two-thirds of the respondents report having a project canceled or delayed since the start of the pandemic.

While the survey showed that 80 percent of the firms had applied for Paycheck Protection Program funds, a larger number are considering returning the money due to unclear and changing guidelines which will lead to more layoffs. “Unfortunately, our survey indicates that layoffs are continuing to occur throughout the nation,” Simonson said.

AGC said it has been calling on officials to take the necessary steps to prevent more layoffs, one of which is providing better clarification on the Paycheck Protection Program. 

The data from Procore provides a deeper understanding of exactly what areas of the country are seeing declines. During the pandemic, overall construction worker hours were down by 13 percent. Smaller companies (less than $20 million in annual revenues) saw the biggest decline in worker hours and the northeastern U.S. had the highest drop in worker hours.

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Comments

Alan Hoyt
May 14, 2020
Now more than ever, the ability to work remotely is important. But not everyone has the opportunity to work remotely. The construction industry, due to the specifics, cannot be transferred to a remote mode of operation. People lose their jobs. What shoul

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