Even as the Obama administration looks to pump more stimulus money into the marketplace, contractors are pointing to challenges of turning existing funds into new or saved jobs. Firms report some stimulus progress in stabilizing their workforce, but nonresidential construction job losses won’t end in 2009. While construction job losses slowed last month to 59,000, industry unemployment is now at 19.2%, compared to 9.4% overall in the U.S., says Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors’ chief economist. “Homebuilding has hit bottom, but nonresidential still has a ways to fall,” he adds. Simonson points to “ominous signs,” such as architect-engineer employment, down
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.