Latest AGC Survey Finds Construction Employment Declined In 20 States And In D.C. In March
Arlington, VA - Construction employment declined in 20 states and D.C. in March, aligning with the results of a recent
survey by the Associated General Contractors
of America that found growing layoffs amid new project cancellations and state
funding constraints. Association officials warned that these cancellations mean
massive job losses are likely to occur soon in even more states unless Congress
helps cover rapidly declining state revenues, adds funding for Paycheck Protection
Program loans and takes other measures to help the industry recover.
“While construction employment declined in many parts of the country last month,
far more states, local governments and project owners have halted construction
in the five weeks since the government collected this data,” said Ken Simonson,
the association’s chief economist. “Our two latest surveys show a steep rise
in cancellations of scheduled projects, which is leading to furloughs and terminations
for both jobsite and office workers.”
released an analysis of new government data that
showed construction employment decreased in 20 states and the District of Columbia.
from February to March, held steady in six states and increased in 24 states.
The economist noted the figures represented a rapid deterioration in a previously
vibrant job market for construction. Over the 12 months ending in March, construction
employment declined in only seven states and D.C., held steady in two states, and
increased in 41 states. He added that the data is based on employment as of March
12, before most states or owners began curtailing construction.
In the association’s latest online survey, conducted April 6-9, 53 percent
of the 830 respondents reported that a project owner had ordered a halt or cancellation
to a current or upcoming project. The share of respondents reporting cancellations
jumped to 19 percent from 7 percent a week earlier, suggesting that the volume
of work will shrink rapidly once current projects finish. Another impediment to
construction—listed by 27 percent of respondents—comes from state and local
officials who have ordered construction shutdowns.
The survey also found that 40 percent of respondents had furloughed or terminated
workers by April 9, an increase from 31 percent just a week earlier. While 36
percent of firms reported furloughs or terminations of jobsite workers, layoffs
also affected office and other workers at 18 percent of firms.
Association officials warned that construction job losses
were likely to accelerate in many states amid the coronavirus pandemic. They added
those job losses will get worse now that several states have canceled or significantly
delayed planned highway projects because the pandemic has resulted in dramatic
declines in gas tax revenues. They urged Congress and the Trump administration
to provide funding to cover the lost revenue to protect existing jobs and make
sure roads are repaired at a time when traffic is relatively light. They also
urged Washington officials to invest more funds in the now-depleted Paycheck Protection
Program and other forms of infrastructure.
“There is a historic opportunity to repair aging roads and other types of infrastructure,”
said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Without
more funding from Washington, government officials will not have the resources
necessary to improve the nation’s infrastructure and protect tens of thousands of construction jobs.”
View the state employment data, rankings, and highs and lows.
About The Associated General Contractors Of America
The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is a leading association for the construction industry. AGC represents more than 26,000 firms, including over 6,500 of America’s leading general contractors, and over 9,000 specialty-contracting firms. More than 10,500 service providers and suppliers are also associated with AGC, all through a nationwide network of chapters. To learn more, visit www.agc.org.