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Nonresidential Construction Spending Declines In March As Pandemic Halts Projects; Group Warns Loan Threats Are Hurting Relief Program

May 1, 2020

Treasury Department’s Recent Changes to Paycheck Protection Program Loan Guidance Are Making It Even Harder for Firms to Maintain Jobs Amid Declining Private-Sector Demand for Construction

Numerous impediments to completing construction projects led to declines in most categories of private construction spending in March, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government data released today. Association officials warn that the Treasury Department’s threats to audit or prosecute some Paycheck Protection Program loan recipients and deny loan recipients tax deductions are making it harder for construction firms already coping with declining private-sector demand to retain staff.

“Unfortunately, these numbers are only the beginning of what seems sure to be a steep decline in construction spending as current projects finish and new work is canceled or postponed indefinitely,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist.  “Our latest survey found that projects as far out as June or later were being canceled last month.”

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