Implications of COVID-19: How Road Work Stays Strong

One of the many implications of covid-19 has been a general lack of work for many people, especially in the lower-income labor force. “The unemployment rate jumped in April 2020 to a level not seen since the 1930s — and still stood at 6.3 percent in January 2021.” [1] People have seen a wide range of adverse economic implications caused by COVID-19 – which included a lack of goods, record-high unemployment, and inability for many to afford general living expenses. Individuals aren’t the only ones taking a hit from COVID-19, as it is estimated that nearly 100,000 businesses have closed their doors since the start of the pandemic. [2] As a result of this, many individuals with previously reliable job security have entered a job market of scarcity and unfamiliarity. This new level of uncertainty is a life-altering change for many people and is understandably a cause for concern in being unable to make ends meet. Despite these factors, many companies and industries continue to flourish during this unprecedented time due to what many categorize as being “essential.” 

Included in the list of essential businesses, road construction has not ceased to function for any particular amount of time. With this continued operation, there have been many challenges in keeping employees safe and healthy. New safety guidelines and increased demand for PPE and sanitary products certainly have added to the situation’s strain. Still, our industry is outperforming many others in keeping the rate of spread low. Statistically, the road construction industry has done very well in stemming off the spread of the highly infectious covid-19. In fact, it has seen a majority of the cases come from outside the industry, as opposed to being spread internally from worker to worker contact. A large part of this is because road construction occurs outdoors as opposed to a confined space. 

The Importance of Infrastructure and American Roadways

During this time of emphasizing the need for essential businesses to continue operation, one factor that will remain unchanged is the ever-present need for a reliable infrastructure supporting transportation and economic logistics. The roads that we all drive on are a generally overlooked resource that allows businesses and individuals to travel freely. The need for freely accessible transportation had existed long before our current generations. It was brought to fruition mainly in the mid-1950s by President Dwight Eisenhower.” In the United States, the Federal Highway Act of 1956, considered one of then-President Dwight Eisenhower’s crowning achievements, provided what was then the most extensive and impressive interconnected highway system in the world.  Its construction enabled the more efficient and less costly transport of goods between cities and states and allowed for an increasingly mobile population to travel the country more widely and quickly.  Today, the country’s roadways remain as vital as ever.” [1] President Eisenhower knew that for economies to thrive, people, goods, and services have to have the ability to get from point A to point B as smoothly as possible.

With our economy looking to move past the implications of COVID-19, the importance of a well-maintained infrastructure is crucial as ever in keeping businesses geared towards recovery and eventually growth. Poor road conditions can cause many complications in everyday transit, including an increase in accidents. On the other hand, adequately maintained roads could foster an increase in transportation safety and efficiency. Systems that support transportation allow businesses and individuals to maintain flexibility and pivot during situations of uncertainty and changing demand. The resource that is our national roadways is often taken for granted, and it cannot be overstated how much our infrastructure and means for transportation affects everyday life. 

Becoming an #Essential Highway Construction Worker

When considering which industries to approach when looking for a new job, it can be challenging to wade through the mess of options currently available. Some of the things to consider when looking for a new job are level of pay, job security, benefits, and more. In the context of COVID-19 implications, we will focus on job security and pay – as these two factors are most likely what people are having the most difficult time finding. As stated previously in the article, a robust infrastructure is the backbone of every thriving economy – and thus translates to the road construction industry being necessary almost indefinitely. When an industry solves a revolving and ever-present maintenance and expansion issue, its workforce receives a higher job security level than average. There’s also the simple fact that many employees in the construction workforce are currently aging. A big chunk will be in the retirement range in the next five years, opening up opportunities for many. These two factors are a perfect storm of opportunity for individuals looking for a lasting career full of security. Job security is only one facet of having a rewarding career, and fair pay is just as important. In road construction, the average income is a substantial benefit compared with other job positions. According to the US Bureau of labor statistics, the mean annual wage for highway maintenance workers is $42,410, which beats the average yearly income of people with a high school diploma by over $5,000. [4]

The roads and highways are a resource that is vital to keeping people connected, providing businesses with a means for logistical solutions and growth, and providing many with jobs. Our infrastructure’s maintenance and development demand strong individuals looking for an exciting and meaningful career that will help people safely get where they’re going! To learn more about some of our job openings, click the link below.