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How Will Coronavirus Affect Manufacturing and Construction?

Even before the coronavirus outbreak began to quickly spread throughout the U.S. this month, the country’s manufacturing and construction sectors were already beginning to feel its effects. Now that cases have increased across the country, and cities and states have instituted more extreme measures to control the spread, the sectors could be in for more serious disruptions.




Some reports from across the industry:


  • An article from Construction Dive identified six potential effects for construction firms: employee health and safety, material delays, project financing difficulties, quarantines and travel bans, legal issues caused by delays or cost overruns, and general global uncertainty.
  • Fieldwire offered similar concerns as Construction Drive, from supply chain to worker health and safety. The report also noted that construction site closures will occur in some areas. Contractors in Boston are already seeing this, with the March 16 announcement that Mayor Martin J. Walsh is shutting down construction jobsites in the city, according to ENR.
  • For projects that do continue to run, supply chain disruptions could become a larger problem. According to the Economic Times, construction is one of the most-impacted sectors due to supply chain concerns. 


  • According to Reuters, sentiment among homebuilders slipped in early March. Experts expect it to dip even further as the scope of the coronavirus and its impacts on the overall economy become clearer.
  • Looking at the overall housing market, Google Trends data indicates the U.S. market could be in for a steep decline, as reported by CCN. This is due to expectations for tighter lending and for higher unemployment rates as many workplaces are forced to close due to the coronavirus.


  • According to Reuters, U.S. factory manufacturing slowed in February, responding to supply chain disruptions, and early projections for construction in 2020 have been adjusted downward.
  • More than 35 percent of manufacturers are already experiencing supply disruptions, according to a recent survey from the National Association of Manufacturers. 
  • MarketWatch reported that U.S. factories could be forced to close due to the lingering supply chain issues. 
  • It is unclear whether North American manufacturers will also need to close plants to curb the spread of the virus, as Chinese (and now some European) manufacturers have done. The UAW, along with several Detroit-based automobile manufacturers, are already in discussions about how to protect workers on the floor, according to USA Today.