Unemployment in the construction sector climbed to a “horrendous” 19.2 percent (not-seasonally adjusted) as an additional 59,000 construction workers lost their jobs in May according to new federal data, said construction economist Ken Simonson today.
Simonson, who discussed the significance of the new jobs data during a media conference call with contractors from across the country, said that construction employment has declined by 990,000 jobs, or 14 percent, in the past year while overall nonfarm employment has declined by 4 percent.
“Construction continues to bear a disproportionate share of the pain from the recession,” Simonson, the chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, said. “Simply put, the unemployment rate for construction in May was horrendous.”
Simonson said that the construction employment figures would likely have been worse if not for the stimulus. For example, Coos Bay, Oregon-based Laskey Clifton was able to put 24 employees on its payroll because of a stimulus-funded highway contract.
Iowa-based General Constructors and A.M. Cohron & Sons have hired 7 new employees between them and plan to add another ten to their payroll because of stimulus funded road work it is doing in Illinois. New Kensington, Pennsylvania’s Sank Associated Companies has hired 10 employees to work on a stimulus funded bridge project.
In Utah, West Valley-based Peck Striping has hired 10 employees because of the stimulus and plans to add another five to its payroll because of the stimulus. In Fort Wayne, Indiana, Primco has hired 15 new employees to work on stimulus projects. And New Hampshire-based Pike Industries is hiring over 100 new employees and has saved 150 existing jobs because of stimulus-funded highway projects in its home state, Vermont and Maine.
“The stimulus is doing its job putting men and women back to work,” said Simonson. “It is boosting opportunity and generating economic activity in an increasingly broad geographic area.”
Read Simonson's remarks at: http://www.agc.org/galleries/news/May%20Jobs%20Remarks.pdf.