Wednesday AM September 30th, 2009

IHS Global Insight finds that more people have lost jobs in the construction sector than in the auto and finance industries.ξ Association of Equipment Manufacturers President Dennis Slater says spending in the construction equipment industry has fallen by more than 50 per cent, compared to its peak in 2006.

"While the U.S. is in a recession, the construction industry's in a depression.ξ This industry represents about 1.25 million jobs and $243 billion, yet it has lost 37 per cent of its workforce in the last two years.ξ That's 550,000 jobs.ξ To put that in perspective, the auto industry — both manufacturing and dealerships — is down only 16 per cent and the finance industry and insurance industry, down only six per cent of their workforce."ξ

Slater says very little federal stimulus funding has gone into infrastructure and highway repair programs.

"Only five per cent of the stimulus package went to the infrastructure and construction repair programs, and there, it was really for short-term repaving jobs.ξ But it never really addressed the issue, which it could have been a great program of doing much more for the transportation system.ξ That five per cent was a good start — it keeps things going — but right now it's not adequately funding the roads."

Slater's group, as well as the Associated Equipment Distributors, are calling for the passage of adequately funded transportation legislation before the spring construction season begins in early 2010.ξ

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

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