Just a few months ago, the whole country was experiencing big gains in almost every sector including construction. There were massive projects going on all over the country, from a new Apple center in Texas to a massive MGM Grand Casino in Massachusetts.
Large-scale job losses
Today, things are much different. A number of projects have shut down, with others cutting way back on the scale of the work. Thousands of construction workers have been laid off. In the just the past few weeks, 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment. These dismal figures signal the end of the longest expansion of employment gains in American history.
For the month of March, the Associated Builders and Contractors released an analysis from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. For all three nonresidential construction segments, the following job losses were recorded:
- Building (-10,700)
- Heavy and civil engineering (-10,200)
- Specialty trades (-3,700)
ABC’s chief economist, Anirban Basu, called the March job losses “horrific” and said that it was unclear how much longer this would go. Some of the construction slow-downs and stoppages were mandated by the government. Places like New York City have experienced high numbers of coronavirus cases with high death tolls. As of Easter Sunday, the death toll in NYC stood at 8,627.
President Barack Obama tweeted:
“Although our celebrations may look different this year, our unwavering faith remains the same. For me, Easter is a time of hope — a reminder of rebirth and renewal — and a belief in a better day to come. From my family to yours, we wish you all a blessed and joyful Easter.”
Many of the construction employment declines come from mandated project suspension. This is especially true in states like New York and California that have experienced higher numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths. Some of it is due to recessionary forces that have troubled the US economy and that of every other economy around the globe.
When Will Things Go Back to Normal?
One of the big questions on everyone’s mind is, “When will things go back to normal?” Though Donald Trump said in a speech a few weeks back that he thought everything would be back to normal by Easter, no one really thought that could happen. Realistically speaking, some analysts are saying that it could take until next November for everything to return to normal. Health experts warn that if restrictions are removed too quickly, we could see a resurgence of the virus.