USGNN Original StoryConstruction Employment Continues to Fall; Jobs Slowly Returning to Some Markets
August 11, 2009

While the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has made some progress in helping to get the economy moving forward again, its impact has been somewhat slow in regard to construction (CLICK HERE for related article). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported that construction employment fell by 76,000 jobs in July, and many construction workers, including contract glaziers, have certainly felt the impact.

"The market is down and the work is not there that was once," says Al Reynolds of Boss Glass Company Inc. in Dover, N.J. He says that while he's starting to see more projects to bid, "local employment is still down about 16 percent compared to 2008."

John Dwyer with Syracuse Glass in Syracuse, N.Y., says their market in the Upstate New York area doesn't always mirror conditions of the rest of the nation. Some areas have continued to do well, while others remain slow.

"Our market is down this season, but not down dramatically. The public work is a larger percentage of construction here than in most places, and this summer we're still seeing K-12 school work, hospitals and universities," says Dwyer. "These institutions have been the drivers of business here for some time."

However, Dwyer says the area that still looks to be down is the retail segment: strip center stores and all glass mall fronts. And as far as residential?

"We don't provide a lot of material to the residential market, except for bath and shower enclosures, and those sales are down from last year, but again, not dramatically. On the plus side, we have seen growth in insulating glass with value added low-E coatings."

According to BLS data, over the past three months job losses have averaged 73,000 compared with 117,000 over the prior six months; construction employment has fallen by 1.4 million since December 2007.

Need more info and analysis about the issues?
CLICK HERE to subscribe to USGlass magazine.