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Census Pulse Survey Finds Modest Improvements

RR061520 AGClogoJune 15, 2020 – According to Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors of America chief economist, the Census Bureau released the results of its sixth Small Business Pulse Survey, with responses from May 31 to June 6, that “is intended to provide crucial weekly data on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the nation’s businesses.” There was modest improvement in several metrics for construction firms. The share that added employees was the highest yet (11.5%, vs. 10.1% in the May 24-30 survey). For the fifth-straight week there were declines in the share with a decrease in employees (12.1% vs. 12.4% a week before) or supply-chain disruptions (31.4% vs. 33.3%). The share of construction respondents that closed a location for at least one day was unchanged at 17.8%. More construction firms than in the five previous surveys reported “little or no effect on … normal level of operations relative to one year ago” (17.1% vs. 13.5% one week earlier). More predicted a return to usual level within three months or less (25.6% vs. 22.3%). There was a decrease in the share who expect that returning to normal level would take more than six months (30.2% vs. 35.0%) but a small increase in the share who do not believe their business will return to normal (6.3% vs. 5.3%).