Gains in May Reflect Temporary Support from Paycheck Protection Program Loans and Easing of Construction Restrictions, But Hobbled Economy and Tight State and Local Budgets Risk Future Job Losses
Construction employment rebounded by 464,000 jobs in May, but the total remained 596,000 below the latest peak in February and the industry’s 12.7 percent unemployment rate was the highest for May since 2012, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government data released today. Association officials cautioned that the future job losses are likely as temporary federal support programs end, state and local officials deal with tighter budgets and private sector demand declines later this year.
“The huge pickup in construction employment in May is good news and probably reflects the industry’s widespread receipt of Paycheck Protection Program loans and the loosening of restrictions on business activity in some states,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Nevertheless, the industry remains far short of full employment, and more layoffs may be imminent.