Construction Employment Declines by 11,000
Between June and July; Industry's Unemployment Rate Hits 17.3 Percent
August 6, 2010
Construction employment decreased by 11,000 between June and July
2010 while the industry's unemployment rate fell to 17.3 percent,
according to a new analysis of federal employment data released
by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).
"The fact that this industry continues to suffer from unemployment
rates nearly double the national average is a reflection of how
much demand for construction has cratered in little more than two
years," said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC chief executive officer.
"Worse yet, there's every indication that as the benefits of
the stimulus fade the industry's employment picture will get even
Sandherr noted that since July 2008, construction employment has
declined by a total of 1,591,000 jobs, a 22-percent decline. He
added that even though the industry accounts for 4 percent of the
non-farm workforce, it has experienced 23 percent of the total job
losses over the past two years. "The sad fact is that construction
workers have been forced to endure depression-like conditions for
far too long," he said.
Noting continued high retail, commercial and manufacturing vacancy
rates and depressed state and local tax revenues, association officials
said overall construction demand was unlikely to increase until
at least 2011 and likely much later in many areas of the industry.
Given the fact that many stimulus-funded construction projects were
likely to end later this year, they urged Congress and the Administration
to act now to pass a host of long-delayed infrastructure bills to
finance new highway, transit, water and utility projects that are
crucial to America's global economic competitiveness.
"Anyone who thinks we are going to out-compete China and India
with old roads, unsafe bridges and outdated power grids is either
sadly wrong or woefully ill-informed," Sandherr said. "The
choice ought to be clear: put Americans to work today rebuilding
our economy, or be prepared for our economy to drown in traffic,
brownouts and water shortages."
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