The total number of highway and bridge construction workers nationwide fell 2.4% in May 2008 compared to the same month last year, according to a report
The total number of highway and bridge construction workers nationwide fell 2.4% in May 2008 compared to the same month last year, according to a report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association. ARTBA's analysis indicates 357,400 workers were employed in highway and bridge work during May 2008 ó 5,300 fewer than the previous year.
The association's ìTransportation Construction Industry Employment Reportî also notes declines in all categories of transportation construction, beyond highway and bridge projects. Total number of workers in the ìstone mining and quarryingî category declined 4.7%, ìconstruction sand and gravelî worker levels dropped about 1%, and ìready-mixed concreteî employment totals declined 4%. According to ARTBA, the ìconstruction machineryî category enjoyed positive job growth, with total worker numbers climbing 7% over the level recorded in May 2007.
Alison Premo Black, ARTBA economist and vice president of policy, says transportation construction industry employment continues to reflect larger market trends, especially the impact of higher material prices. ìThe value of pavement work on highways and streets through May 2008 is about the same as the first five months of 2008, but the cost of doing business and procuring materials has increased sharply. These factors directly impact hiring decisions.î
Black continues, ìWe are beginning to see employment decreases in industries that supply goods for highway construction, including stone mining and quarrying and ready-mixed concrete. However, overall decreases in highway and street construction employment have been modest compared to other construction sectors.î
During the same time period, residential construction employment fell 10.9% and total construction industry employment fell 5.4%, according to ARTBA. The association also emphasizes the importance of reviewing trends following the summer peak-work season to fully assess the current state of the transportation construction industry market.