"The recently passed U.S. economic stimulus bill was expected to funnel $150 billion into building and repairing infrastructure, which the union said would employ 700,000 workers, for a while. The stimulus funding is viewed as only a downpayment on the $2.2 trillion engineers say is needed to rebuild the nation's infrastructure. Fewer workers are needed to perform maintenance than build from scratch, labourers say.
'If there's no buildings going up, what do you do?' said James Connolly, a Labourers' union manager. 'Prepare yourself because it's going to get worse before it gets better.'
Construction workers are accustomed to boom-and-bust cycles but this downturn appears deeper and longer. The impact of lost wages of $35 to $40 an hour ripples through the economy."