Showing posts with label civil engineering construction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label civil engineering construction. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Heavy and civil engineering construction continues to lag in Georgia and foretell future problems


Drive around the Atlanta area and you are bound to see new construction – both multifamily and single-family residences continue to spring up all over the metro area, as they are in other parts of the state, such as the Savannah area.

Despite these visible signs of improvement, construction employment continues to lag behind the private sector in general.

In 2021, average annual employment in Georgia’s private sector grew by almost 4.9%, while construction employment rose by only 2%.

Residential construction keeping up construction employment

Much of the disparity lies with the increase of residential construction versus nonresidential building and heavy and civil engineering construction.

Between 2020 and 2021, employment in residential construction increased by 5.4%, while nonresidential building construction rose by 1.5%, and employment in heavy and civil engineering construction actually declined 3.8%.

Compared to February 2020 (pre-pandemic), construction employment through April is ahead by 3,165 workers, with building construction employment up by 1,743 and specialty trades contractors’ employment increasing by 4,148.

Heavy and civil engineering construction

What is heavy and civil engineering construction? Think water and sewers, pipeline, and power and communication systems, not to mention roads and bridges, and you have a pretty good idea of the types of construction that fall into this category.

Employment in heavy and civil engineering construction is actually down by -2,726 compared to its pre-pandemic levels.

Imbalances will lead to problems

The imbalances in the recovery of the construction sector point to trends as well as future problems.

The trend in constructing residential versus nonresidential buildings can be partly explained by the work-from-home trend as fewer workers on-site means less need for commercial office space.

Unfortunately, the trend in residential construction without the corresponding increase in water, sewer, and other types of heavy construction, such as roads, means that residents of these newly occupied family dwellings will find themselves with inadequate infrastructure to support their living.

As a result, more crowded roads, decaying bridges, inadequate water systems, etc., look to frustrate residents.

Since most heavy construction is publicly funded through taxes, the solution depends on the willingness of taxpayers to increase taxes on themselves. Short of increased taxes to fund public improvements, Georgians will find themselves complaining about the situation while unwilling to take the necessary steps towards improving it.