Construction Loses Nearly One Million Jobs in April

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Robison Wells

According to a survey by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and drawing date from construction technology firm Procore, the US construction industry shed nearly a million jobs in the last month.

The survey found that more than half of contractors have furloughed or terminated employees since March. The primary reason cited was that owners and developers were halting projects that were already underway. 63% of contractors had stopped work at such projects.

The most common reason for the halt, at 37%, was the owner’s concern about the spread of COVID-19 at the job site. 31% said there was less demand because of the pandemic and 30% said they were halting to comply with government restrictions on business operations. 20% said that private funders were pulling their support in a volatile economy.

The reasons varied a lot by geography. In the Northeast, where the virus has been particularly bad, 64% said they had to close to follow laws and statutes, including stay-at-home orders which declared construction as non-essential work. On the contrary, in the South region, only 14% cited the same concern. In that region, most of the companies who closed did so because of the owners or developers’ decisions.

The survey also found that 55% of contractors applied for and are receiving funds through the small business Paycheck Protection Program offered through the federal CARES Act.

Finally, in an effort to get back to work economically, 60% of contractors say that they support a safe harbor rule which will protect employers from COVID workplace liability.

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