The Great Recession: Will Construction Workers Survive?
By KEVIN O'LEARY / LOS ANGELES Saturday, Feb. 06, 2010
The middle and working-classes have been hammered by the Great Recession and no industry has taken it more on the chin than construction. Nationally, unemployment fell to 9.7% in January, but in construction it jumped to 24.7% from 18.7% in October. In many regions, union officials report 30% of their members are unemployed or "riding the bench." "In the previous 14 years, I had not been out of work for more than one week," says Pat O'Connor, 57, a Connecticut carpenter. With no work since July, O'Connor says, "It is a bad dream turning into a nightmare. Is construction dead? It's just horrible right now. No one expected this. It's a depression." He has a mortgage and is worried he will fall behind and lose his condo. "When I go to bed, I keep the TV on just so I have the noise. If it gets silent, I get a panic attack." more