Construction industry loses 975K jobs in April amid pandemic

The loss constitutes nearly 13% of the industry’s employment

May 11, 2020
construction job losses

Construction employment declined by 975,000 jobs in April as a new survey by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America and data from construction technology firm Procore show deteriorating demand for construction, officials with AGC recently announced.

“Today’s jobs report, our new survey results, and Procore’s data make it clear that the construction industry is not immune to the economic damage being inflicted on our country by the pandemic,” Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, said in a statement. “Without new federal help, it is hard to see a scenario where the construction industry will be able to recover any time soon.”

The economist said the loss of 975,000 construction jobs from March to April constituted nearly 13% of the industry’s employment and was, by far, the worst one-month decline ever. He added that unemployment among workers with recent construction experience soared by 1.1 million from a year earlier, to 1.53 million, while the unemployment rate in construction jumped from 4.7% in April 2019 to 16.6%.

Simonson noted that a survey of over 800 construction firms the association released found that while only 30% of firms report projects have been halted by government order, 37% say their owners have voluntarily halted work out of fears of the pandemic. Thirty-one percent report that owners have canceled projects because of a predicted reduction in demand. And 21% report having projects canceled as a result of a loss of private funding.

All told, 67% of firms report having a project canceled or delayed since the start of the outbreak in early March. These cancellations have forced some firms to cut staff. Twenty-three percent, for example, report cutting staff in March and 22% cut staff in April. 

In addition to the new survey results, the association also shared new data released by construction technology firm Procore. The data is based on the transactions logged via the company’s software by tens of thousands of construction firms across the country. That data shows how demand and hours-worked have declined in most states since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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SOURCE: Associated General Contractors of America

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