States could quickly put many back to work with infrastructure stimulus, AGC says.
The recentBureau of Labor Statisticsjobs report showed the
unemployment rate for construction workers jumped to 10.8 percent last month. Chief
Economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, Ken Simonson, said
the numbers are especially bad for the construction segment, and shows the
“urgency of enacting infrastructure spending as part of a stimulus bill.”
"Construction had ― by far ― the
highest unemployment rate of any industry and the largest increase, up from 6.1
percent a year ago," Simonson noted. "The industry accounted for
nearly half of the million-plus jobs lost throughout the economy in the past 12
Many of the losses were in heavy and
civil engineering construction, Simonson observed, and said those workers could
quickly be re-employed if the states had enough money to award contracts for
projects they have ready to go. “Contrary to some assertions, this money would
quickly make its way into the economy, supporting equipment and materials
manufacturing and services jobs, as well as construction.” State officials say
they have thousands of projects ready to award without long delays.
"AGC urges Congress to act this
month on a stimulus package that includes funding for highway, bridge and other
infrastructure work," Simonson stated. "In addition, the new
Administration and Congress should give a high priority to renewing long-term
highway, airport, water and wastewater funding bills next year.”
AGC states that falling materials costs
and a strong pool of skilled contractors ready to bid for work will get the
projects up and running.
For more economic construction news,
visit the AGC Web site atwww.agc.org.