Five years after states first started shedding construction jobs, construction employment remains significantly below peak levels in North and South Carolina according to a new analysis released by the Associated General Contractors of America. Given the continued weakness in construction employment, the national association is launching a new effort to encourage Congress to pass years-late legislation to fund highway, bridge and transit construction work.
“The construction industry remains a shell of its former self in too many states,” said the association’s chief executive officer, Stephen E. Sandherr. “Making long-overdue investments in our nation’s aging roads, bridges and transit systems will put people back to work and give a needed boost to the broader economy.”
Construction employment in North Carolina declined 33 percent since its peak level in June 2007, from 257,000 employees to just 171,200 as of November 2011. South Carolina experienced a 41 percent decline in construction employment from the October 2006 peak level (127,700) to 75,800 as of November .
Association officials said that one way to help boost construction employment was for Congress to finally enact the years-late surface transportation bill that sets funding levels for federal investments in highway, bridge and transit construction. Since the prior bill expired in late 2009, Congress has passed a series of short-term funding extensions. These extensions make it difficult for transportation planners to move forward on key projects because they don’t know how much long-term funding will be available.
As part of its new effort to push for passage of a new transportation bill, the association’s members will be contacting their Congressional representatives and urging them to pass the legislation. The association will also work with local groups representing the broader business and labor communities to have them explain the need for new transportation investments. And the association will launch new online advertising and conduct a number of media events around the country to highlight the need for the transportation bill. Read More.