real estate

Construction layoffs should dip this year

Posted 1/27/12

ARLINGTON, Va. - Fewer American construction firms expect to lay off workers in 2012 than they did at the start of 2011 and 2010, according to the results of a survey of building firms released by the Associated General Contractors of America this week.

Nationally, nine percent of firms said they anticipate laying off workers, down from 37 percent last year and 55 percent in 2010, the survey said; 32 percent of firms said they expect to add more employees in 2012.

In Massachusetts, one of 29 states whose sample of survey results were large enough to be broken out, only 6 percent of construction companies said they expect to lay off employees while 44 percent said they expect to add more workers in the next 12 months. Figures for Rhode Island were not available.

In its 2012 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook, Associated General Contractors predicted market conditions would improve slightly in 2012.

“While there are some promising signs, especially when it comes to construction employment, the outlook for the industry is mixed,” said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. “More than four years after demand for commercial construction began to plummet, economic conditions remain difficult.”

Based on survey results, firms are optimistic about increased demand for construction of hospitals and higher education buildings but more pessimistic about demand for public buildings, K-12 education and highways.

Many contractors pointed to tight credit conditions slowing the market and concerns about the cost of materials rising faster than bids.

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