The impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on construction continue to increase, according to a survey Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) conducted March 23 to 26. The survey had 1,640 respondents, of whom 39% answered “yes” to the question: “Did an owner direct you to halt or cancel construction on their own current project or one expected to start in the next 30 days?” Also, 18% reported that a state or local official or agency had ordered them to halt or cancel construction. In the previous survey, from March 17 to 19, 28% had replied “yes” to a combined owner/public order question. In addition, 45% reported various causes for project delays or disruptions: shortage of materials, equipment, including personal protective equipment for their workers, or parts, 23%; shortage of essential craft workers including subcontractors’ workers, 18%; shortage of government workers, whether to issue permits or certificates of occupancy, or to conduct inspections or lettings, or to make project awards, 16%; potentially infected person had visited a jobsite, 13%. About 35% of respondents said suppliers had notified them or their subcontractors that deliveries will be late or canceled, up from 22% the previous week. About 8% said they had contracted to do additional work on medical or other facilities. To view the survey, visit www.agc.org/coronavirus.
Seasonally adjusted construction employment increased from February 2019 to February in 42 states and declined in eight states and the District of Columbia, an AGC analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. The reference period for the data was the week of Feb. 12, when there were still very few coronavirus-related layoffs. The largest year-over-year additions increase in construction jobs occurred again in Texas (35,700 jobs, 4.7%), followed by Florida (25,000 jobs, 4.5%) and California (24,000 jobs, 2.8%). The largest year-over-year percentage gain occurred in New Mexico (8.8%, 4,200 jobs), followed by North Dakota (7.6%, 2,100) and Utah (7.3%, 7,800). Louisiana lost the most construction jobs over 12 months (-8,200 jobs, -5.5%), followed by West Virginia (-4,700, -12%). The largest percentage loss occurred in West Virginia, followed by Louisiana and Vermont (-5.2%, -800). Construction employment rose from January to February in 37 states and D.C., decreased in 11 and was flat in Oklahoma and Vermont. Employment reached a new high (in records back to 1990) in Idaho, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Texas. AGC’s rankings are based on seasonally adjusted data, which in D.C., Hawaii and Delaware is available only for construction, mining and logging combined.
The U.S. Census Bureau released 2019 population estimates for counties and metro- and micro-politan areas. Population change over time is a key indicator of demand for numerous types of construction, sources of state and local tax revenue, and availability of labor, AGC stated. The metros with the largest population gains between the last census in April 2010 and July 2019 were Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington (1,206,599, 19%), Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land (1,145,654, 19.4%) and Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler (755,074, 18%).