Building market facing another tough year, but hiring up poll

Jan 25, 2011 | 06:14 AM |

U.S. construction industry contractors are bracing for at least one more difficult year in 2011 as the benefits of federal stimulus programs fade and demand for homes, offices and retail facilities remains weak, according to the results of a survey. But the outlook isn't completely dour.

Construction spending is down some $200 billion since 2008 and is unlikely to see a strong recovery until at least 2012, according to Stephen Sandherr, chief executive officer of the Arlington, Va.-based Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), which conducted the survey together with global consulting firm Navigant Consulting Inc. Some 1,300 contractors across the United States were polled.

"The challenges are not just hurting the construction industry but are hurting larger economic growth. Construction jobs pay better than average wages. It is because of the significant role the industry plays in building the broader economy that we spent a lot of time surveying members on their hiring and business plans," Sandherr said in a conference call this week. "Bottom line, it won't be an easy year for construction firms in 2011, but it (the industry) will be in a better position in 12 months than it is today."....

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