Unfounded allegations around the legitimacy of the presidential election, the Jan. 6 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol and President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial could have negative effects on American businesses, according to corporate leaders, some of whom have called for an end to the upheaval.
U.S. construction pros also are concerned about how the recent political unrest might affect their businesses. In an online survey last week, 65% of respondents told Construction Dive they are worried that the events of recent weeks could hurt their bottom line.
“The divisiveness in Washington drives people to the extreme corners of their parties,” wrote one respondent. “What we need is a government that is focused on helping businesses and the country move forward to get people back to work. The business community needs stability, predictability and certainty.”
Readers noted that the unrest could further delay construction across the country as spooked clients "wait for the dust to settle." They also worry that the chaos in Washington, D.C., could hold up beneficial legislation such as an infrastructure bill and funding for coronavirus mitigation.
Survey takers cited increased security in city centers that could halt construction projects, present stock market challenges and potentially raise construction costs among other top concerns.
“It creates a climate of uncertainty that influences investors and project stakeholders in a negative fashion,” said one. “They are less likely to take risks on construction ventures.”
They also said that employees were feeling the stress and some lamented that the divisive political environment had seeped onto jobsites, leading to a decrease in safety and morale.
“Escalating employee mental health issues resulting in lack of focus, increased mistakes, safety concerns, missed project deadlines...boils down to increased stress/responsibility on operations," wrote one reader.
In light of the divisive environment, readers said they hoped that people will set aside their differences and that elected leaders will work together to solve the challenges of the moment.
“We must continue to talk and stay in dialogue so we can learn from each other," one respondent wrote. "Hiding at either extreme and loading our guns is not moving forward, when most of the answers probably lie in the middle."