EZG Manufacturing
Federated Insurance
Fraco USA, Inc.
Hohmann and Barnard, Inc.
Husqvarna Construction Products N.A.
Hydro Mobile, Inc.
iQ Power Tools
Kennison Forest Products, Inc.
Mortar Net Solutions
Non-Stop Scaffolding
Southwest Scaffolding
Tradesmen's Software, Inc.
August 14, 2010 9:00 AM CDT

The Guessing Game


I often am asked my opinion on our industry in regard to the economy, the remainder of 2010, and the whole of 2011. The trouble there is just that – it’s my opinion. Not a fact, but a belief. And, no matter how many economists weigh in on Fox News and CNN, someone is always right behind them to contradict their findings. This goes for people who make economy predicting their hobby as well.

Sadly, entire organizations will release construction industry news and findings that will directly contradict their news and findings from a few days prior. The bottom line is, it is just impossible to know, at this point, what to expect.Most believe that residential will correct itself long before commercial, and I do tend to agree with that. Furthermore, has commercial seen the worst of its demise yet? Who knows?

The latest numbers from Associated General Contractors show signs of “stabilizing,” since six states added jobs between 2009 and 2010, and 22 states added jobs during June/July 2010. Kansas and Kentucky get a “thumbs up,” while Nevada and California get a big, fat raspberry.

Of course, the AGC also notes that “the abundance of workers and firms eager to work, combined with relatively low materials costs, makes construction services more affordable than they have been in years.”

Another point that the AGC made was interesting as we sometimes look to federal projects to save part of our industry.“Projects funded by federal stimulus money have added to the construction job tally in many states…That money will soon run out, yet Congress has yet to pass most of its regular long-term infrastructure bills…Any improvements in the construction employment picture will be difficult to sustain unless Congress quickly passes long-term funding for transportation, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.”

I would like to know what you’re hearing out there on the jobsites and in the field. How are you feeling, and what are you hearing, about the remainder of 2010 and the whole of 2011? For now, let the guessing game continue.

About the Author

Jennifer Morrell was the editor of Masonry magazine. She has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry as a writer and editor, covering such topics as real estate and construction, insurance, health care, relationships and sports. A graduate of The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in magazines and is an award-winning newspaper columnist.


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