Construction unemployment in US rises

By Andy Brown11 March 2021

Almost 10% of construction workers in the US are unemployed amid severe winter weather and continuing weakness in new nonresidential projects, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) of government data.

The AGCA has reported that construction employment declined by 61,000 from January to February, the first overall decline since April 2020. Employment totalled 7,340,000, a decrease of 4% from the most recent peak in February 2020.

“The steep decline in construction employment in February continues a downward trend in nonresidential activity that began before the disruptions caused by last month’s freezes and power losses,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist.

“Despite recovery in some parts of the economy, private nonresidential construction is still experiencing many cancelled and postponed projects and few new starts.”

US Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, recently indicated that now was a ‘once in a lifetime’ moment for the country to invest in infrastructure.

“Washington officials can’t change the weather, but they can help boost demand for infrastructure, address spiking steel and lumber prices and avoid anti-recovery measures like the PRO Act,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

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