CIVIL ENGINEERING 365 ALL ABOUT CIVIL ENGINEERING



AbstractConstruction industry employment has been severely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This paper examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US construction labor market. This study contributes to the state of knowledge by (1) revealing how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted construction employment across different demographic groups and geographic regions in the US, and (2) identifying vulnerable demographic groups (e.g., minorities, women, older workers) in the construction workforce that are disproportionally impacted by the pandemic. Employment data from the Current Population Survey and Current Employment Statistics (CES) programs, which are administered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, are used to assess the impact of COVID-19 on construction employment. The impact of COVID-19 is defined as a change in 12-month employment from 2019 to 2020; the study mostly focuses on April and September, 2020. Analyzing CES survey data reveals that women in the construction workforce declined by 11.9% in April 2020, when COVID-19 caused an overall 15.6% decline in the US construction labor market. The study also reveals that Black or African American communities are disproportionately impacted by job loss in the US construction industry. In September 2020, the 12-month decline in construction employment among Black or African Americans was 29.6%, compared to 5.8% for the overall decline in construction employment. States in the north of the US suffered a rapid decline in construction employment during the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty states suffered a higher 12-month decline in construction average weekly earnings in September compared to April, which reveals the persistent impact of the pandemic on the industry. This study contributes to the state of practice by helping policymakers understand the pandemic’s disproportionate impact across different demographic groups and geographic regions. It is expected that this study will assist policymakers in drafting equitable recovery policies to overcome the setbacks caused by the pandemic.



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