McGraw-Hill Construction, a provider of project information and industry news, has predicted that U.S. public works construction will rise in 2009, but overall, new construction starts will fall by 15% (to $463.1 billion).
Public works construction starts are estimated to climb 10%, including a 15% rise in highways and bridges. The increase is the most immediate benefit from the stimulus funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to be seen. McGraw-Hill estimates that without the ARRA money, public works would fall by 10%. The 2009 outlook also anticipates that institutional building will decrease by 6%; commercial building by 27%; and residential building by 31%.
“The construction industry is facing divergent forces in 2009, said Robert Murray, vice president of economic affairs and the author of the outlook. “…there’s yet to be any sign that lending conditions for construction have improved. On the plus side, the federal stimulus bill is now in place, which will provide quick support to public works this year.”