AGC Reports Job Increase in October


Construction employment increased by 84,000 jobs in October, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America.

The AGC said that jobs were added in both nonresidential and residential categories, climbing to about 7,345,000 jobs—an increase of 1.2% from September. The Association notes, however, that the COVID-19 pandemic is still causing a growing number of projects to be delayed or canceled, and employment still remains at about 3.9% below the February peak.

“The employment data for October is good news, but our latest survey found that only a minority of contractors expect to add to their workforce in the next 12 months,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist.“As project cancellations mount, so too will job losses on the nonresidential side unless the federal government provides funding for infrastructure and relief for contractors.”

And while nonresidential jobs did increase, employment in that sector remains at around 262,000 jobs, about 5.6% lower than its February peak.

On the flip side, residential employment is down just 1.1% from February, and those figures are the lowest they’ve been since the pandemic struck the industry.

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.

Previous Surveys

Those numbers were similar to the data released at the end of last month, that found that deferrals, cancellations and disruptions to work had increased, suggesting a second wave of COVID-19-related issues for the industry.

The biggest finding is that nearly 75% of survey respondents reported having scheduled projects postponed or canceled—this is up from the 60% that reported such in August, and the 32% who did so in June.

And, on the flip side, only 23% of contractors reported working on new or expanded projects as a result of the pandemic, which was about the same in June.

As for projects that are currently underway:

  • 78% of respondents report they are currently experiencing project delays or disruptions, up from 57% in June;
  • 42% of firms are experiencing disruptions due to a shortage of construction materials, equipment or parts;
  • 35% are experiencing disruptions because of a shortage of craftworkers and/or subcontractors, however;
  • only 7% of firms are experiencing disruptions because of a shortage of personal protective equipment.

As a result, about 34% of respondents said they do not expect their firm’s volume of business will return to pre-pandemic levels for at least a year.


Tagged categories: Associated General Contractors (AGC); COVID-19; Economy; Health & Safety; Health and safety; Jobs; NA; North America; Safety

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