Coronavirus Has Caused Significant Construction Project Delays & Cancellations

October 2020

Sixty percent of contractor firms report future projects have been canceled or delayed, but 52% of firms struggle to find craft workers amid worker fears of COVID and unemployment supplement.
The coronavirus has harmed the construction industry, prompting project delays and cancellations, layoffs and furloughs, yet it remains difficult for a majority of firms to find craft workers to hire, according to the results of a workforce survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America and Autodesk. The survey paints a picture of an industry in need of immediate recovery measures and longer-term workforce development support, AGC officials added.
“Few firms have survived unscathed from the pandemic amid widespread project delays and cancellations,” said Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “Ironically, even as the pandemic undermines demand for construction services, it is reinforcing conditions that have historically made it hard for many firms to find qualified craft workers to hire.”
Sixty percent of responding firms report having at least one future project postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus, while 33% report having projects that were already underway halted because of the pandemic. The share of firms reporting canceled projects has nearly doubled since the survey AGC conducted in June, when 32% of respondents reported cancellations.
The coronavirus has also undermined the sector’s productivity levels as firms across the country change the way they operate to protect workers and the public from the disease. Forty-four percent of responding firms report that it has taken longer to complete projects, and 32% say it has cost more to complete ongoing projects because of the coronavirus. As a result, 40% report they have adopted new hardware or software to alleviate labor shortages they have experienced.