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Data: Construction Activity Back to Pre-Pandemic Level

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

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The Associated General Contractor of America released new data last week that indicate that construction activity has returned to pre-COVID-19 levels in 34 states.

The AGC said that while this is a positive trend, the industry is just now seeing some of the long-term impacts of the global health crisis.

The Numbers

The numbers, which come from a new AGC survey and data from construction technology firm Procore, also show that some future projects and being canceled and that others are delayed because of supply chain issues and labor shortages.

(The association’s new survey is based on responses from over 630 firms collected between June 9 and 17. Procore’s data is based on the transactions logged via the company’s software by construction firms across the country.)

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The Associated General Contractor of America released new data last week that indicate that construction activity has returned to pre-COVID-19 levels in 34 states.

“Many of the immediate economic impacts of the coronavirus have passed and, as a result, activity and hiring are up, a bit,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s Chief Economist. “But while the immediate crisis appears to have passed, we are just now beginning to appreciate some of the longer-term impacts of the pandemic on the industry.”

“But it is important to remember that construction activity typically increases quite a bit between March 1 and the end of May as the weather improves and more work gets underway. Getting to March 1 levels is a sign of progress, but it doesn’t mean things are back to normal.”

In addition to the 34 states, construction has also reached pre-pandemic levels in Dallas and Miami in terms of large metro areas. Meanwhile, the AGC survey found that just 8% of firms were forced to layoff or furlough workers in June while 21% added employees.

AGC added that while 17% anticipating adding workers in the next four weeks, 42% do not expect demand to recover to normal levels for at least a few months and many are still relaying on federal aid.

“Without additional help from D.C., the few gains this industry has made during the past few weeks will likely be fleeting,” Simonson added. “That is why we will continue to push Congress and the Trump administration to enact the kind of long-term economic recovery measures this industry needs to truly rebound from the coronavirus.”

Previous Data

The AGC released its most recent construction jobs survey data early this month, revealing that employment bounced back by 464,000 jobs in May.

In addition, the total number of jobs remain 596,000 below the latest peak in February and the unemployment rate of 12.7% is the highest it’s been since May 2012 and is four times as high as this time last year.

Construction employment totaled 7,043,000 in May, which is where it was in late 2017.

The AGC maintains that the “best way to avoid the expected future construction job losses is for federal officials to boost funding for infrastructure, including highway, bridges, waterways and airports.”

“Government officials have done a good job providing temporary relief for firms struggling to cope with the economic impacts of the pandemic,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC CEO.

“As those temporary supports end, the broader economic realities of the lock-downs will cost countless construction jobs unless Congress and the Administration can work together to enact measures to revive the economy.”

View all of PaintSquare Daily News' COVID-19 coverage, here.


Tagged categories: Associated General Contractors (AGC); Business matters; COVID-19; Health & Safety; Health and safety; Industry surveys; Market data; NA; North America; Safety

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