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Construction Jobs Down by 4,000 in Massachusetts

Saturday, August 18, 2012


The Associated General Contractors of America issued a report Friday which showed a decline in the number of construction jobs in 31 states, including Massachusetts.  The Bay State has shed nearly 4,000 construction jobs since last summer.

The trade group's report, based off analysis of data collected by the U.S. Labor Department, noted that the decrease in employment for the construction industry coincided with decreases in public funding for construction projects.

"Public construction cuts in particular are taking their toll on construction employment in many parts of the country," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "With economic growth remaining sluggish, there is a chance construction employment will begin to slip in even more places."

The AGCA report also stated that uncertainty about the tax situation next year may result in lagging demand for construction work in the private sector as well, causing construction job numbers to slide even further.

"The longer Washington waits to act on vital tax and infrastructure measures, the more construction workers will lose their jobs," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer. "The best way to boost employment and help the economy is to invest in basics like clean water and set predictable tax rates."

Warren Chimes In

Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren was quick use the trade group's report to bolster her plans for infrastructure improvement projects throughout the Commonwealth.

“This report highlights what we already know – we have construction workers who need jobs and crumbling roads and bridges that need repairs," Warren said in a statement.

"Smart investments in transportation, communications, and education infrastructure will not only create jobs now, it will lay the groundwork for a healthier economy for the years to come.”

Warren went on to accuse her opponent, Republican Senator Scott Brown, of voting against bills that would have supported construction jobs, including 11,000 workers in Massachusetts alone.

The statement from Warren's campaign outlined a seven-step "Rebuild Now" plan, which called for investment in air and surface transportation, education reform, increased access to wireless broadband, the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank, and more flexibility for states to use federal highway funds for transit projects, among other initiatives.

Brown Campaign Fires Back

Brown rolled out his own "Small Business Owners for Brown" initiative on Friday during an event in Woburn.

"Since being elected, Scott Brown has stood by small businesses in working to make Massachusetts a business-friendly environment by maintaining regulatory and tax certainty," said Paula Benard, a member of the new coalition.

Brown's Press Secretary Alleigh Marré characterized Warren's plan to continue Obama-era policies but expect different results as "the definition of insanity."

"We tried a stimulus in 2009 and it failed; all we got was higher debt and fewer jobs," Marré said.

"Not only is Professor Warren proposing a new trillion-dollar stimulus that would add to our record debt, she also supports a $3.4 trillion tax increase, the largest since World War II. Professor Warren’s economic policies would hurt businesses and cost us jobs. She is a jobs destroyer.” 


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