ENR Southeast Construction reports parent company McGraw-Hill Construction has revised its October 2011 forecast to predict total new construction starts will rise 2 percent across the U.S. in 2012. Last fall, a flat construction outlook was forecast.
In its 2012 Dodge Construction Outlook Midyear Update, McGrawHill projects that total construction starts will increase to $445 billion from the $434 billion reported for 2011. The forecast calls for improvement in housing, with weakened institutional and public works building because of the tough fiscal environment for state and localities.
Manufacturing building will retreat 20 percent following a 75 percent jump in 2011, the forecast notes, with public works construction sliding 6 percent. Advances were predicted in single-home and multi-family housing. Robert Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill, said in a statement that even though the outlook is slightly improved it still paints the industry as one struggling to gain upward momentum.
The backdrop for the construction industry remains the fragile U.S. economy, he said, with slow employment growth, diminished funding from state and federal government and lingering uncertainty over the European debt crisis. “Given these divergent factors, the construction market this year continues to see a mix of pluses and minuses by major sector,” he said. Read More.