Delta variant threatens construction recovery in US, say contractors

The Delta variant of Covid-19 is preventing most US states from returning to pre-pandemic activity levels, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) has said.

In July 2021, construction employment in 36 states was found to be below the pre-pandemic peak in February 2020.

Construction employment increased in only 14 states as of last month, and remained stagnant in the District of Columbia.

Texas recorded the largest loss of construction jobs over the period, a decline of 56,200, while Louisiana recorded the largest percentage loss of -15.3%, a loss of 21,000 jobs.

The AGC said construction employment would be bolstered by the passing of the $1.2trn bipartisan infrastructure bill, which is linked to a larger $3.5trn social-spending package.

Ken Simonson, the AGC’s chief economist, said: “This data shows that full recovery remains elusive for construction in most states.

“In fact, the fast-spreading Covid-19 Delta Variant may make it harder to find employees eligible to work on restricted sites and may also depress demand if some owners defer projects.”

Stephen E. Sandherr, the AGC’s chief executive, said: “New federal infrastructure investments will help put more people to work in high-paying construction careers.

“The House can help put Americans back to work by immediately approving the infrastructure measure that passed the Senate with broad, bipartisan support.”

Image: Construction in California, March 2021 (Michael Ledray/Dreamstime)

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