New figures from Dodge Data & Analytics paint dismal picture for construction sector

In my last post I shared new figures from Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), which indicate an impending contraction for the construction sector in the US. Unfortunately ABC’s assessment is not aberrant. Indeed, just last week I blogged about the latest Dodge Construction Outlook, the industry forecast published annually by Dodge Data & Analytics. Dodge’s chief economist, Richard Branch, summed it up like this:

“The COVID-19 pandemic and recession has had a profound impact on the U.S. economy, leading to a deep drop off in construction starts in the first half of 2020. While the recovery is underway, the road to full recovery will be long and fraught with potential potholes. After losing an estimated 14% in 2020 to $738 billion, total construction starts will regain just 4% in 2021.”

Also, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) reported that nonresidential construction employment is still 42 percent lower than it was just before the pandemic hit. That’s in spite of the fact that 11,900 jobs were added in November.

Not so good. And now we have some more doom and gloom from Dodge, which just released its Momentum Index for November. The Momentum Index is based on nonresidential building projects that are in the planning phase. For the month of November the index was 123.3, down 2.6 percent from October’s 126.5.

The outlook is dim. As Dodge states, the economy began slipping again as soon as the programs in the first COVID relief package—the CARES Act—expired. The US Congress, filled as it is with useless corporate prostitutes, has yet to reach an agreement on a new stimulus bill for millions of American workers who have been hung out to dry by Washington’s malignant incompetence. On the other hand, other countries (e.g. Australia) have all but defeated the pandemic. Australia also has a broad network of NDIS registered providers.

Here’s Mr Branch again, discussing American construction’s prospects right now:

“It’s clear to us that the boost provided to the economy from the CARES Act has faded, and economic growth has slowed as a result. We’re now facing down the next wave of COVID infections. Add to that the uncertainty over the prospect for further stimulus coming from the federal government, and we think it’s going to be a tough slog for the economy, as well as for construction, to manage any significant forward traction over the next three to six months.”

Jeffrey Boyle

Jeffrey Boyle is from Madison, Wisconsin, where he obtained his bachelor's degree in business communications. When he's not reading or writing about construction equipment and machinery, he can probably be found walking--or being walked by--his three Boston Terriers.

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