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AGC Releases Job Gain Numbers for November

Monday, December 14, 2020

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Construction employment reportedly increased by 27,000 jobs in November, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors Association.

Officials said that the gains are continuing in the residential categories, trailed by nonresidential. While employment climbed to 7.36 million (an increase of .4% over October), the AGC warned that pandemic-induced cancellations and looming bills for the Paycheck Protection Program could put a halt to progress.

“The construction industry recovered a bit in November, but the future is far from certain for the industry,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s Chief Economist. “The nonresidential building and infrastructure segments are likely to shed jobs again amid an increase in coronavirus case counts unless Congress acts quickly to provide needed relief.”

However, employment in the sector remains down by 279,000 or 3.7% since the most recent peak in February. The pandemic initially triggered widespread project cancellations and interruptions that resulted in the loss of 1.1 million construction jobs in March and April.

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Construction employment reportedly increased by 27,000 jobs in November, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors Association.

Moreover, the disparity between residential and nonresidential construction widened in November, with residential trade adding 15,400 jobs (recouping about 96% of its losses during March and April) while nonresidential construction has added 11,900 jobs (recovering about 56%).

Even with the residential gains, the AGC warned that more projects could be canceled with a new surge of COVID-19 cases.

“In addition, firms that used Paycheck Protection Program loans to save jobs face an unexpected tax hit because the Trump administration is defying Congressional intent and opting to tax forgiven loans as income. Without tax relief and other needed recovery measures, the officials warned that November’s modest job gains are likely to be fleeting,” the association said.

AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr added: “The Trump administration is seeking to undermine the benefits of the Paycheck Protection Program by rewarding firms that saved jobs with a massive tax increase. These new taxes, coming on top of greater market uncertainty as coronavirus cases surge, will make it hard for many construction firms to retain current workers, not to mention add new ones.”

Previous Numbers

At the beginning of the month, the AGC took a closer look at the numbers that it had released for October employment, saying that despite the majority of states added jobs that month, construction employment was still below pre-pandemic levels in three-fourths of states.

Further, the association added that some states, such as New York and Vermont, had the worst losses since February, when COVID-19 pandemic sanctions forced many projects to shut down or pause.

The chief reason for the losses continues to be the weak demand for nonresidential projects, according to Simonson.

On the whole, seasonally adjusted construction employment in October was lower than in February in 37 states, Simonson noted. Some stats include:

  • New York lost the most construction jobs over that span, -41,600 jobs or -10.1%;
  • Texas was close behind with a loss of -41,500 jobs, -5.2%; and
  • Vermont had the largest percentage loss -21.8%, -3,200 jobs);
  • followed by North Dakota -13.2%, -3,900 jobs.

Only 13 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs from February to October; those include:

  • Virginia, with the most additions of 7,100 jobs, 3.5%;
  • followed by Kentucky with 4,300 jobs, 5.4%;
  • Alabama with 4,300 jobs, 4.5%; and
  • South Dakota with the largest percentage gain of 9.4%, 2,300 jobs.

Construction employment increased by 84,000 jobs in October, according to the analysis by AGC released in early November.

Other notable figures from the October survey, which covered more than 1,000 contractors, include:

  • three out of four respondents reported that a scheduled project had been postponed or canceled; and
  • 37% of respondents expect their headcount to increase over the next 12 months.


Tagged categories: Associated General Contractors (AGC); COVID-19; Economy; Good Technical Practice; Jobs; NA; North America

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