70,000 Jobs Affected by FAA Reauthorization Failure: AGC Study

Associated General Contractors of America said $2.5 billion in airport construction contracts are affected by Congress' failure to pass a reauthorization measure for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The impact of Congress' failure last week to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration extends well beyond the 4,000 FAA employees who have been furloughed. According to an analysis done for Associated General Contractors of America, $2.5 billion in airport construction contracts are affected and about 70,000 jobs are at risk. AGC announced its findings July 27.

"With so few other construction segments doing well, halting an entire category of federally-funded construction--airport projects--is exceptionally devastating economically for this industry," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for AGC. "Tens of thousands of construction workers shouldn't have to suffer because Congress hasn't figured out a way to work out its differences."

The analysis conducted for the association by Professor Stephen Fuller of George Mason University said halting $2.5 billion in construction projects puts approximately 24,000 construction workers out of work, which affects another 11,000 workers in related service and supply businesses. As many as 35,000 jobs "will be undermined in the broader economy, from the lunch wagon near the job site to the truck dealership across town," AGC said.

Construction contractors already were suffering through the fifth year of a downturn, with more than 2.2 million construction workers having lost their jobs since 2006, Simonson said. "Federal investments in infrastructure have kept the floor from falling out from under contractors and their remaining workers," he added. He also predicted taxpayers will suffer because the cost of the airport construction projects is likely to increase as contractors have to add the cost of securing projects and resuming work to their final bills.

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