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Infrastructure Media Event

Construction officials say new Trump Infrastructure Program will create new local jobs.  AGC Arkansas urges president-elect to protect the future of our infrastructure development.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016  
CONTACT: Brian Turmail, AGC of America                                                                         
(703) 459-0238, turmailb@agc.org

 
LITTLE ROCK AREA CONSTRUCTION JOB LOSSES AMONG HIGHEST IN THE NATION AS WORKERS STANDS TO BENEFIT FROM PROPOSED NEW FEDERAL CIVIL WORKS PROGRAM
Metro Area Loses 1,800 Construction Jobs in One Year, putting area 4th out of 358 for Total Job Losses and 6th for Percentage of Jobs Lost, Construction Officials Say New Trump Infrastructure Program Will Create New Local Jobs
 
The Little Rock metro area lost more construction jobs during the past year than all but 3 out of 358 metro areas between October 2015 and October 20165, according to an analysis (add metro link) released by the Associated General Contractors of America today.  Association officials said that a new infrastructure proposal being crafted by the incoming Trump administration would help add more construction jobs in Little Rock and other metro areas.
 
“What makes these job losses even more frustrating is the fact many of them could have been avoided,” said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist.  “Yet too many local construction firms that work on vital infrastructure projects are seeing less work today than just a few years ago.”
 
The construction economist said that total public spending on infrastructure and other public works has declined by 2.2 percent during the past twelve months.  In particular, public spending on highway and street construction has slipped by 0.7 percent, other transportation facilities such as airports has dropped 4.8 percent, sewage and waste disposal investments slumped by 8.9 percent and water supply funding fell by 8.3 percent.
 
Simonson noted that the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway metro area lost 1,800 construction jobs for the year, a 10 percent drop.  He added that, out of the 358 metro areas the association tracks, only three metro areas lost more construction jobs during the past year and only five lost a higher percentage.  There are 15,800 people working in construction in the metro area today, down from 17,600 a year ago.
 
The construction official said that Little Rock was not alone.  Nationwide, 73 out of 358 metro areas lost construction jobs for the year, including the Fort Smith metro area, while construction employment was stagnant in another 62 areas.  He added that declining public sector investments in roads and bridges threatens construction employment levels in the 223 metro areas that added construction jobs for the year, including in the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers area.
 
Simonson said that a new infrastructure investment program being planned by President-elect Trump that could invest up to $1 trillion in improving public infrastructure will help boost construction employment in Little Rock and many other metro areas.  He added that construction jobs pay nearly 10 percent more per hour than the average non-farm job in the U.S.
 
Moreover, a new infrastructure program will create tens of thousands of manufacturing, mining and service-sector jobs as equipment makers, aggregate firms and construction suppliers see boosts in orders, the economist noted.  He said that new infrastructure investments will also make the economy more efficient and businesses competitive by cutting traffic delays, lowering energy costs and improving public health. 
 
The construction firms and workers the association represents are committed to helping ensure the President elect's infrastructure plan becomes a reality, Simonson noted.  He cautioned however that any new program should also include a significant, sustained increase in infrastructure investments, and ways to pay for them for years to come. 
 
“Without increased funding and new ways to pay for future repairs, it will only be a matter of time before our infrastructure begins to crumble again,” Simonson observed.
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