Unemployed construction workers continue to outnumber unemployed workers in any other sector as recently released figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal another 62,000 lost construction jobs in October, totaling 18.7% for construction unemployment. The figures show that additional measures to stimulate construction demand, such as the recently passed extension of the homebuyers’ tax credit and expansion of carryback for net operating losses are needed, according to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Arlington, Va.
“The nation’s economic troubles are forcing construction workers to shoulder a withering burden,” says Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s CEO. “Helpful as the stimulus has been in saving some construction jobs, it is going to take more work to halt the devastating job losses that are wiping out millions of construction workers’ families."
Sandherr said the new October employment data shows construction workers suffered more job losses than any other segment of the economy, followed closely by manufacturing, which lost 61,000 jobs. He added that the construction job losses were almost twice as severe as the manufacturing losses when compared to the size of the sectors’ overall workforce.Among construction workers losing jobs in October, 47,000 were in the non-residential construction sector, while 15,000 were from the residential construction sector, Sandherr notes. He adds that since December 2007, residential and non-residential construction employment has declined by over 1.6 million.
Sandherr said that construction workers should expect some relief from the increased demand for construction that will come with the recently passed extension of the homebuyers’ tax credit. He added that construction companies will be able to convert future tax benefits into cash today that can be used to expand payrolls now that the carryback of net operating losses has been expanded. “It is good to see Washington focusing on desperately needed measures to stimulate private construction activity,” he continues. Sandherr urges Congress to take additional measures, outlined in the association’s construction recovery plan designed to boost construction activity, increase employment, and expand the economy. “Construction workers are ready to drive economic growth, instead of dragging it down,” Sandherr says.