Unemployment in Construction: “Devastating”

Today’s U.S. “Employment Situation Report” that unemployment is at 9.8 percent is very bad news for the overall economy, but the situation in the construction equipment industry, which includes manufacturing, distribution and repair stations, is much worse, says Dennis Slater, President of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). 

“The industry is in a depression, not a recession. It has lost 37 percent of its jobs since the economic downturn began. To put this in context, the job losses in other sectors are indeed terrible – auto manufacturing and dealership jobs are down 16 percent and the finance and insurance industries are down by 6 percent – but a 37-percent job loss is devastating,” he says. 

“The leaders in Washington had hoped for improvement in the unemployment rate, but the trend lines are still going up, and our industry is facing disaster,” said Slater. “Congressional action to fully fund the highway bill could reverse this trend in the construction equipment industry.” 

Earlier this week, AEM released a study conducted by IHS/Global Insight that dramatically captured the staggering job loss in the construction equipment sector. The study found that among the direct and indirect effects of the recession on the construction equipment industry – 8 percent of all jobs lost during the recession, or two out of every 25 – can be traced to this sector.