Construction unemployment rises to 10%

By Andy BrownMarch 11, 2021

Construction unemployment rose to 10% in February 2021

Almost 10% of construction workers in the U.S. are unemployed amid severe winter weather and continuing weakness in new nonresidential projects, according to an analysis of government data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

The AGC has reported construction employment declined by 61,000 from January to February, the first overall decline since April 2020. Employment totalled 7,340,000, a decrease of 4% from the most recent peak in February 2020.

“The steep decline in construction employment in February continues a downward trend in nonresidential activity that began before the disruptions caused by last month’s freezes and power losses,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. 

“Despite recovery in some parts of the economy, private nonresidential construction is still experiencing many cancelled and postponed projects and few new starts.”

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg recently indicated that now was a ‘once in a lifetime’ moment for the country to invest in infrastructure.

“Washington officials can’t change the weather, but they can help boost demand for infrastructure, address spiking steel and lumber prices and avoid anti-recovery measures like the PRO Act,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of AGC.

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