Construction employment plummeted in Illinois between May and June, the state's 4,700 job losses the worst in the nation for the period, according to data compiled by Arlington, Va.-based Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Ohio logged the third largest job losses – 3,700 – between May and June.
In all, 25 states logged job losses between May and June, an occurrence AGC chief economist describes as “troubling,” despite relatively positive year-over-year totals among states. Among the culprits: a lack of transportation funding for many state projects, Simonson says. “Investing in transportation infrastructure will make it easier for many firms involved in highway and transit construction to add new staff,” he adds.
In recent months, several Midwest states have grappled with shortfalls in transportation fundig, with Missouri only maintaining existing roads after voters recently failed to approve both retail and gas tax hikes to fund projects.
AGC officials officials have inicated that concern about future federal funding levels for highway and transit repairs and improvements have cast a pall over the sector. Noting that the U.S. Senate continues to hammer out a new long-term surface transportation bill, they urged members of both parties to work together to address growing problems with the nation's aging transportation infrastructure.
“Passing a long-term highway and transit bill will provide the kind of funding certainty many construction firms need to expand payrolls and invest in new equipment,” says AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. “The series of short-term transportation funding extensions Congress has passed has clearly had a negative impact on the construction industry’s recovery.”