Trade groups: Amid COVID-19 challenges, construction has performed better than most industries

Contractors have dealt with a range of challenges this year, including layoffs, government shutdowns, canceled projects and the increased costs of keeping sites open during the pandemic. For example, despite enjoying essential business status in most of the country, the construction industry still lost jobs across 58% of metro areas year-over-year through October, due to the broader impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Associated General Contractors of America this week. As bad as these numbers are, construction’s job performance relative to other sectors was a bright spot, with unemployment rates for construction lower in 20 states in September compared to February, according to the Associated Builders and Contractors. These disparate views of similar data during overlapping periods illustrate the bifurcated impact of the COVID-19 crisis across the diverse $1.3 trillion construction industry. They also highlight how industry leaders have had to walk a tightrope between emphasizing the pandemic’s negative impacts in hopes of garnering more government relief for the sector, while simultaneously showcasing construction’s positive track record with the proactive intent of warding off any new government shutdown orders that could lie ahead.

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