Lasting effects

The Great Recession’s effect on the roofing industry is reflected in insurance claims

The Great Recession experienced in the U.S. from 2007-09 significantly affected the construction industry and many U.S. workers and their families. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 25 percent of construction jobs were lost between January 2008 and January 2010.

"We have seen a substantial number of skilled construction workers leave the industry for jobs in other sectors of the economy where they can put their skills to use right away," says John Tatum, senior vice president of CNA Construction, Lancaster, Pa. "For example, with the 'fracking' boom taking place in various shale regions around the country, well-trained crane operators are in high demand in the oil and gas sector."

Figure 1: Number of roofing contractors employed from 2004 to 2014

Specialty construction contractors, including roofing contractors, were not immune to labor market and economic changes. According to BLS, between 2008 and 2010, more than 15 percent of roofing jobs were lost in the U.S. (see Figure 1). As the construction industry recovers and industry demands continue to grow, companies need to offset the losses of labor with new hires. However, hiring new, inexperienced workers to replace the workers lost during the Great Recession has resulted in an uptick in injuries and insurance claims.