The Jobs Proposal Will Impact Construction

September 13, 2011

Could the construction industry be on the verge of another stimulus bill? If passed, the proposed job creation plan could generate additional employment opportunities and more investment in infrastructure—which would mean more work for the construction industry. 

There has been some debate among contractors how much ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), which was passed in February 2009, impacted the construction industry. While the job creation and infrastructure investment was not as high as some would have hoped, the act still provided new projects and employment for the industry.

According to Stephen Sandherr, CEO, AGC (Associated General Contractors of America), www.agc.org, Arlington, Va., construction workers have accounted for more than 20% of the jobs lost, and today the industry unemployment rate is 13.5%—which is higher than the national average.

Sandherr says, “If it weren’t for the stimulus and other public investments in infrastructure projects, however, that unemployment rate would be much worse. Indeed unemployment levels in heavy and civil construction—the type of construction funded by the stimulus—have remained stable and even grown slightly since the stimulus first kick in, while the rest of the industry continued to shed jobs.”

When ARRA was put in place, it ushered in a new age for the construction industry—one that required greater accountability and collaboration across the entire team.

Since the passage of ARRA many construction companies have discovered the increased need for transparency on government-funded projects. Those that have worked on stimulus projects know the importance of proper reporting and project management in order to effectively run a project.

In many cases, these companies have turned to software to help manage schedules, budgets, and project data, and provide owners with details about the status of the project. For example, following the enactment of ARRA, Conti Corp., www.conticorp.com, South Plainfield, N.J., had won a federal stimulus funded job from the New York City DOT (Dept. of Transportation) to rebuild the St. George Ferry Terminal to connect between bus and train services on Staten Island and ferry service to and from Manhattan.

The project team uses technology to collect and share information, in order to better collaborate with the agencies. Some owners are even mandating the use of technology on government-funded projects.

Going forward, the new jobs plans could address many challenges in the construction industry today such as creating more employment opportunities and providing more funding to state governments. But it will also require the construction industry to continue to provide this heightened level of transparency and collaboration.

Ultimately, the new plan could mean another stimulus of sorts for the construction industry, which is going to continue to require the use of technology and software.