Minority, women-owned construction firms struggle to pay employees, face layoffs: survey

Half of MWBE group’s firms fear bankruptcy

New York /
Mar.March 26, 2020 04:20 PM
Construction workers in New York City on March 26, 2020 (Credit: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

Construction workers in New York City on March 26, 2020 (Credit: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

Many minority and women-owned construction companies say they are struggling to pay their employees and anticipate layoffs over the next few weeks and months, according to a new survey.

The Minority & Women Contractors & Developers Association, a New York-based nonprofit organization, asked its members this week how they’ve been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Of the group’s 84 members, 71 responded — nearly all of whom indicated that they are having difficulty making payroll. More than 50 of the firms said they expect to lay off some employees in the coming months and weeks, and half said they fear bankruptcy as a real possibility.

“Even pre-pandemic, these are existential issues that our members face,” said Kenneth Thomas, co-Managing director of the MWCDA. “Our members, by and large, are undercapitalized in the first place.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo indicated Thursday that he may limit the types of construction that are considered “essential,” meaning that some project sites will likely have to close down.

City Council members and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams have repeatedly called for a halt in non-essential construction — for instance, work that isn’t related to infrastructure, healthcare facilities or emergency repairs. Concerns have mounted as workers have contracted Covid-19 and complaints have surfaced relating to the difficulty innate in social distancing on a cramped construction site.

New York wouldn’t be alone in restricting certain types of construction. Earlier this month, Boston halted all construction throughout the city. Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee clarified on Thursday that residential and commercial construction must stop for two weeks, according to Bloomberg.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images)
Former carpenters union official avoids prison in bribery case
Former carpenters union official avoids prison in bribery case
(Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty Images)
Investors are scoring bulk discounts from strapped homebuilders
Investors are scoring bulk discounts from strapped homebuilders
(Photo Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images)
Office occupancy stalls after Labor Day push
Office occupancy stalls after Labor Day push
(Photo Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images)
Lumber prices splinter amid rising interest rates
Lumber prices splinter amid rising interest rates
DOB NOW (NYC DOB, Getty)
Buildings Department audits plunge as agency closes loophole
Buildings Department audits plunge as agency closes loophole
The world is running out of sand, and it’s already affecting real estate
The world is running out of sand, and it’s already affecting real estate
The world is running out of sand, and it’s already affecting real estate
Domain Companies' Matt Schwartz, Vorea Group's Peter Papamichael and rendering of 540 DeGraw Street (Getty, Domain Companies, Vorea Group)
Domain, Vorea secure $140M construction loan for Gowanus apartments
Domain, Vorea secure $140M construction loan for Gowanus apartments
(Getty)
NYC leads US apartment deliveries, which are forecast to hit 50-year high
NYC leads US apartment deliveries, which are forecast to hit 50-year high
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...