2009 a difficult year but ‘devastating’ to the construction industry
It’s no secret that it’s rough out there. It’s been that way for a while now.
But in the construction industry, we’ve been one of the hardest hit job sectors. While only 5 percent of the U.S. workforce, construction workers shouldered 20 percent of non-farm layoffs last year, Stephen E. Sandherr said in the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) 2010 Construction Industry Employment and Business Forecast Jan. 20. Better Roads participated in the call.
Conditions are going to remain tough for our industry. “While 2009 was a difficult year for much of the U.S. economy, it was simply devastating for the construction industry,” Sandherr said during the call. “Unfortunately for the industry and for our economy, this year’s construction outlook is far from positive. As long as the construction industry remains mired in its own depression, broader economic and employment growth will continue to lag.”
(For Better Roads’ exclusive 2010 Forecast, in which contractors and agencies show no signs of surrendering to economic pressures that in turn show little sign of easing their assault, click here.)
Construction spending declined last year by $137 billion,and is now at the lowest level in six years, Sandherr noted.
Based on responses received from nearly 700 construction firms nationwide in late December and early January to an AGC survey, 88 percent of them don’;t expect overall business conditions to improve until at least 2011.
Why? Because few contractors expect privately funded construction projects, which typically account for the bulk of annual construction activity, to improve, Sandherr said.
And without a new highway bill–the extension of SAFETEA-LU expires at the end of February–the situation is just exacerbated.
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