ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) –Construction is one of the few industries still up and running amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Construction companies said they are anticipating delays for things like supply issues and workers needing to be home at times to take care of loved ones. However, they said overall, their industry actually has not taken a hit and they are looking to hire.
“The world is not on pause,” Mackenzie Bishop with Abrazo Homes said. “There is a lot of stuff that is still happening.”
With many industries shut down, there is one that keeps on trucking. “We are incredibly blessed to be able to continue to work and be that driver in the economy that is still functioning,” Bishop said.
Bishop said their workforce remains steady, not laying off a single worker, as construction is considered an essential business.
“They are able to continue to be a breadwinner for their families when they have relatives who are out of work,” Bishop said. “They are a lifeline for a lot of people.”
In fact, Bishop said productivity has accelerated amid the uncertainty as many live paycheck to paycheck.
“People do not know how long they will be able to work,” Bishop said. “These folks get paid based off how much work and output they achieve, so there is a hyper-heightened focus in terms of trying to get as much work done as possible.”
He said they are currently building 75 homes each of which employs 200 to 300 people over time. Statewide, construction employs tens of thousands.
“Construction both commercial and residential is a big driver for jobs,” John Garcia said.
Garcia, who is with the Home Builders Association of Central New Mexico said the industry anticipates welcoming new workers laid off from other industries.
“Whatever workforce that is, whether it is hospitality, administration, including oil and gas, we are prepared to onboard as many folks as we can,” Garcia said.
Bishop said his workers are practicing social distancing and cleaning and sanitizing their work areas and tools. He said he hopes home construction will stay steady during this time.
“Hopefully our industry can be a foundation for what the recovery and bounce back of this looks like,” Bishop said.
The home builders association said construction companies want to hire people who lost their jobs. It will be working with Central New Mexico Community College on creating skills trade programs to get people trained.
Builders said they have also been helped out by the cities of Albuquerque and Rio Rancho who have been doing virtual building inspections.