November 23, 2014

Study: Construction industry hit hardest by recession

A study finds two in every 25 jobs lost nationwide during the current economic downturn are being lost in the constuction industry. Toby Mack, president and CEO of the Associated Equipment Distributors, says the construction industry is in a depression, not a recession, and every state is being impacted.

Mack says research shows employment in Nebraska that’s connected to the construction equipment industry is 14,682 jobs. Of those, some 4,200 have been lost since 2006. He says the industry nationwide has shed 37-percent of its workforce during the downturn, which is more jobs lost than either the automobile or finance industries.

Mack’s organization is urging federal lawmakers to pass a new highway bill, as the old five-year plan is expiring today. “Congress has not yet acted to replace the current program with a new program and we’re advocating strenuously for Congress to take immediate action,” Mack says. “There are bills that have been worked on but they haven’t been fully introduced yet.”

While the legislation is zeroed in on transportation and the building of roads and bridges, he acknowledges the home construction industry is also badly sagging. “We’re urging Congress to do things like extend the First Time Homebuyer tax credit but our real focus right now is on the highway program because that drives a tremendous amount of activity in our industry,” Mack says. “That’s where the opportunity is immediately available to create some more economic activity in our sector.”

While Congress is tied up tackling issues like health care reform, Mack says the nation’s roads and bridges are crumbling — and crowded. “We do have hope and we think it’s vital that it happen soon,” Mack says. “We know Congress is busy with other things but we think this is so important to the country. This nation is losing its competitiveness and productivity advantage because of congestion and restricted capacity on the surface transportation system.”

He says this issue isn’t just for the benefit of the construction industry, but for the economy and the country as a whole. The study was conducted by the analysis firm, IHS Global Insight. For more information, see the website: www.StartUsUpUSA.com.