Ken Simonson on Construction Outlook: Work Shortage or Worker Shortage?



Construction had the longest and deepest decline of any sector. To date its recovery has been modest, and the prospects for all segments—residential, private nonresidential and public—range from uncertain to dismal. Yet the industry’s unemployment rate has tumbled by half in the past three years, while growing numbers of home builders and contractors report difficulties finding various types of workers are in short supply. What are the prospects—nationally, statewide and in the Bay area—for construction spending? For workers? How might immigration and health care legislation or pending labor regulations affect the industry?

Ken Simonson is Chief Economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, the leading national association for construction contractors, suppliers and service providers. He joined AGC on September 10, 2001 and has since provided insight into the economy and what it implies for construction and related industries. Ken has 40 years of experience analyzing, advocating and communicating about economic and tax issues for a variety of business groups, federal agencies and an economic consultant.

Ken began a year as president of the National Association for Business Economics at the NABE annual meeting in New York City in October. He was president of the National Economists Club, now a NABE chapter, in 2000.

Ken has a BA in economics from the University of Chicago, an MA from Northwestern
University, and he has taken advanced graduate courses at the Université de Paris, Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities.


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