Construction Activity Starting to Return to Pre-COVID Levels

Washington, DC, June 23, 2020-Construction activity is beginning to return to pre-coronavirus levels in many parts of the country, according to a new survey from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and data from construction technology firm Procore, reported by Builder Online. 

“Despite beginning to return to normal, the data suggests that many future projects are still being canceled and contractors are still experiencing delays related to supply chain issues and labor shortages.

“According to Procore's data on workers' hours, activity has returned to pre-pandemic levels in 34 states. AGC data suggests that fewer than 10% of firms furloughed or terminated workers since the beginning of June. In contrast, 12% of respondents to AGC's latest survey reported adding to their workforce since the beginning of June. Nearly one in five firms report anticipating further adding to their workforce in the next four weeks.

"‘It is important to remember that construction activity typically increases quite a bit between March 1 and the end of May as weather improves and more work gets underway,’ AGC chief economist Ken Simonson said in a news release. ‘Getting to March 1 levels is a sign of progress, but it doesn't mean things are back to normal.’

“According to the AGC, 68% of respondents reported current projects being halted or canceled in May and June or future projects scheduled for July and August being halted in canceled. Of firms who have seen projects halted or canceled, a third reported owners halted construction due to fears about the coronavirus surrounding the project.

“One in four firms reported that construction materials shortages, caused by lockdowns and trade disruptions, are causing delays on current projects, according to the AGC. An additional quarter of firms reported a shortage of craftsworkers is causing delays. Procore data suggests that smaller firms have experienced more severe declines in activity during the pandemic than larger firms.

“While some construction firms predict they will expand during the next several weeks, 42% of firms do not expect demand will recover to normal levels for at least four months. Most firms expect recovery will take longer than six months, according to the AGC.

“The AGC survey is based on responses from more than 630 firms collected between June 9 and 17 and Procore data is based on transactions logged by tens of thousands of construction companies via the company's software.”