Construction Employment Continues to be Constrained in April
Washington, DC, May 12, 2021-Construction employment was unchanged from March to April as nonresidential contractors and homebuilders alike struggled to obtain materials and find enough workers, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government data.
Association officials said the industry’s recovery was being hampered by problems getting stable prices and reliable deliveries of key materials, while the pandemic and federal policies were making it harder for firms to find workers to hire.
“Contractors are experiencing unprecedented intensity and range of cost increases, supply-chain disruptions, and worker shortages that have kept firms from increasing their workforces,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “These challenges will make it difficult for contractors to rebound as the pandemic appears to wane.”
Construction employment in April totaled 7,452,000, matching the March total but amounting to 196,000 employees or 2.6% below the most recent peak in February 2020. The number of former construction workers who were unemployed in April, 768,000, dropped by half from a year ago and the sector’s unemployment rate fell from 16.6% in April 2020 to 7.7% last month.
“The fact that employment has stalled-despite strong demand for new homes, remodeling of all types, and selected categories of nonresidential projects-suggests that contractors can’t get either the materials or the workers they need,” Simonson added. The economist noted that many firms report key materials are backlogged or rationed, while others report they are having a hard time getting former workers to return to work. He added these factors are contributing to rising costs for many contractors.
Related Topics:Associated General Contractors of America