Steel Markets

Construction Employment Rises in June, But Work Hours Diminish

Written by Sandy Williams

Construction employment rose in 31 states from May to June, but new data from construction technology firm Procore shows hours on the job slipping.

“The widespread job gains in June follow even more universal increases in May,” said Associated General Contractors of America Chief Economist Ken Simonson. “But the government’s employment snapshot was based on payrolls during the week of June 12. More recent data collected by Procore on hours worked on jobsites suggests employment topped out around mid-June and may have begun to decline.”

Procore software data shows jobsite hours reached a peak of 15.1 million during the week of June 7-13, but slipped the following two weeks, dipping to 14.6 million hours by the week ending June 27.

Procore began mapping jobsite hours March 1 during the initial shutdowns from COVID-19. As states relaxed stay-at-home orders and weather improved, construction jobsite hours improved. Simonson noted, however, that 12 states logged fewer jobsite hours in late June than in early March.

AGC officials warned that more project cancellations and layoffs may occur due to new outbreaks of the coronavirus. The association continues to urge the government to pass a comprehensive infrastructure bill.

“Only the federal government has the means to keep infrastructure and other needed public construction on track,” said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. “It would be tragic to miss the opportunity to support the economy, keep thousands of construction employees at work, and invest in much-needed upgrades to roads, transportation facilities, water and sewer systems.”

AGC’s analysis of government employment data showed that New York added the most construction jobs from May to June (42,000 jobs or 14.2 percent). Massachusetts had the largest percentage increase (16.3 percent, 19,700 construction jobs). Construction employment declined from May to June in 18 states and was unchanged in Alaska. Louisiana lost the most construction jobs (-3,900 jobs, -3.1 percent). Nevada had the highest percentage loss (-3.5 percent, -3,500 jobs).

From June 2019 to June 2020, construction employment increased in 15 states, decreased in 34 states and D.C., and held steady in Wyoming. Utah added the most construction jobs over the year (10,200 jobs, 9.4 percent). South Dakota had the largest percentage increase (13.7 percent, 3,200 jobs). Both states set all-time highs, in records dating to 1990. New York lost the most construction jobs over the year (68,300 jobs, -16.8 percent). The largest percentage decline occurred in Vermont (-29.4 percent, -4,500 jobs).

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