Growth expected, but construction’s economic recovery well behind other sectors
Other road blocks to construction’s recovery are poor access to credit, extremely weak job growth, the uncertain political climate of an election year, and high energy costs, Baker said.
In regard to non-residential construction, Baker said it is at the lowest level he’s seen in 30 years. While the average number of non-residential construction amounts to 1.3 billion square feet each year, the current rate is only 600 million square feet.
However, while house prices hit the bottom in early 2009 and haven’t improved much in the last three years, Baker said commerical property values have come out of that basement and seem to be trending upward at a healthy pace.
He also noted that architectural firms polled around the country have reported an upturn in billings in the past two years, driven by the mounting strength of commerical and industrial projects.
Baker said four in 10 of the firms surveyed are planning on adding staff by the end of the year, pointing to a fair amount of optimism.
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