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New York, New York U.S.A- With the pandemic easing its way towards a hopeful end, New York City’s economic revival has revealed an unwelcoming realization for the construction industry. Recovery in regards to finance, employment, and projects, will prove to be as great in difficulty as during the Great Depression.
The construction industry in New York was one of the first businesses to resume work in the state following the initial shutdown. Despite doing so, the city’s building sector remains solidified at 25,000 jobs below the pre-corona virus peak.
President Joe Biden’s estimated $1 trillion infrastructure plan is anticipated to provide beneficial outcomes among the construction realm; however, uncertainty regarding the next mayor and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s political beliefs may disrupt such notions of hope and a continued delayed infrastructure plan
Chief Executive of the New York Building Congress, Carlo Scissura, believes that in order to restart New York’s economy and working population, large scale infrastructure proposals supported by the federal government must be put into action.
In May, over 41,300 jobs were added in the city allowing the unemployment rate to cascade down from 11.4% in April to 10.9%. Yet, NYC’s unemployment rate still stands at twice the national average with approximately 510,000 jobs below the pre pandemic total.
The construction industry notably provides high-paying jobs in which advanced degrees are not necessary. Immigrants and individuals of color tend to rely on construction for monetary stability.
In 2020, the industry’s average salary in New York wavered around $87,200 making it the fourth highest paying sector in the city. Immigrants mainly from Latin American and the Caribbean hold half of NYC’s construction jobs while Hispanics and white employees make up a third of the workplace.
Meanwhile during 2019, construction jobs were being added in the city for the eighth consecutive year, creating a total of 161,300 employment openings. Around this time, spending among the construction realm reached a historical high of $61 billion.
Such profitability failed to last long. The following year was met with a $5 billion decrease in construction spending which continues to reign prevalent. Only two projects larger than 300,000 square feet were granted approval in the first three months of 2020 compared to the 405 project applications received in the first three months of 2019. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has stated that it usually takes the construction industry about five years to reacquire the success of previous prime peaks.
Levels of activity and employment remain dependent on government spending. A $8.5 billion program has been accepted to replace Rikers Island with smaller jails among the boroughs and approval of the Gateway tunnel project beneath the Hudson River offers a potential enhancement of construction job opportunities. The triumph of New York’s construction industry lies in the hands of the Biden Administration and the size of the infrastructure program they will be able to obtain.