STATEWIDE CALIFORNIA CONSTRUCTION EMPLOYMENT: HOW HAS IT FARED WITH COVID-19?
Construction employment declined in more than nine out of 10 metro areas from March to April, a time when industry employment typically increases in most locations, an analysis by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America of new government data shows.
The San Francisco area showed a dramatic 28 percent decline in construction employment, dropping to 30,100 from 42,000 in a matter of weeks. Similar job loss percentages (27 percent) were reported in Oakland in the Bay Area. Other California communities showed painful, but relatively less severe, job losses.
Here are is the data for individual regions, with the number of employees in March, April, the percentage change and the number of employees added (or lost), and the national ranking.
New federal transportation funding could help restore many lost construction jobs, but cautioned that new legislation released recently by House Democrats includes new regulatory measures that could undermine the broader goals of the measure.
“Today’s employment report shows how few areas were left unscathed by April’s unprecedented job losses,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Sadly, our latest survey shows project cancellations are escalating, making further job losses inevitable unless there is funding for widespread new projects.”
The economist said construction employment declined between March and April in 326, or 91 percent, out of 358 metro areas and increased in only 20 areas (6 percent). Industry employment was unchanged in 14 areas. Over the previous 30 years, 75 percent of metro areas added construction jobs from March to April, on average, while 12 percent of metros shed jobs.
Association officials said new federal infrastructure investments in roads, bridges, transit and rail systems, like those proposed in a new transportation bill released today by House Democrats, would provide a needed boost to construction employment in many parts of the country and support a broader economic recovery. But they cautioned that new programmatic and regulatory requirements in the measure could undermine some the bill’s potential economic benefits. They urged Congressional leaders to work in a broad, bipartisan manner to rapidly pass a measure that expands highway capacity, improves bridges, builds transit and rail systems and supports long-term economic growth before current legislation expires.