The coronavirus pandemic has caused more than one in four contractors to halt or delay work on current projects, according to a survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). The results of the survey illustrate how quickly market conditions can change and paint a distinctly different picture than recent government data, which suggests the majority of states added construction jobs through January 2020.
“The coronavirus pandemic has the potential to undermine what had been a very robust construction market, threatening the livelihood of countless workers and the viability of many firms,” Ken Simonson, AGC's chief economist, said in a news release. “Providing additional tax credits and loans will help, but contractors also need the certainty that comes with infrastructure funding and improvements to the new paid and family leave measures.”
Twenty-eight percent of respondents to the AGC's survey indicated they have directed to halt or delay work on active projects and projects expected to start in the next 30 days. Additionally, 22% of respondents said a supplier notified them deliveries would be late or cancelled.
One in five contractors cited shortages of government workers—to issue permits or certificates of occupancy or to conduct inspections. Sixteen percent of respondents cited a shortage of materials, parts, or equipment, including workers' personal protective equipment. Around one in ten contractors cited a shortage of craft workers as a primary reason for project delays.
To illustrate how quickly conditions have changed, government data from January found 56% of the 358 surveyed metropolitan areas added construction jobs between January 2019 and January 2020.
The AGC's survey generated responses from 909 contractors between March 17 and March 19.