Stimulus-Funded Construction Projects Create New
May 8, 2009
Construction companies nationwide are reporting that the stimulus
bill passed last February is making it possible to hire new workers,
according to information gathered by the Associated General Contractors
of America (AGC).
"Early reports indicate that the infrastructure piece of stimulus
is beginning to do exactly what was intended, put construction workers
back on the job," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for AGC.
"As today's employment report shows, however, construction
is still one of the hardest-hit industries in terms of job losses."
Simonson said that as more and more stimulus-funded projects are
awarded, a growing number of member companies are reporting adding
new jobs or rehiring laid off employees.
Simonson also noted that many contractors were canceling planned
layoffs because of new stimulus-funded work. Noting that an estimated
85 percent of construction companies said they would cancel layoffs
or add new employees with the stimulus, he said stimulus funds were
keeping a bad business environment from getting substantially worse
for many firms.
Simonson said that the latest U.S. Department of Labor employment
report for April shows that 110,000 seasonally adjusted jobs were
lost in construction, accounting for more than one-fifth of total
job losses. He added that the industry's 18.7-percent unemployment
rate is more than double the national average. Sadly, all five construction
categories-residential and nonresidential building and specialty
trade contractors, and heavy and civil engineering construction-shed
workers last month and for the past 12-month period, Simonson noted.
"It's tempting to imagine how much worse today's jobs report
would have been without the stimulus," Simonson said.
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