ABC Predicts Continued Construction Industry Growth in 2015

ABC Predicts Continued Construction Industry Growth in 2015

ABC economist expects a rise in backlog, construction employment and nonresidential spending.

Associated Builders and Contractors forecasts a steady and ongoing economic recovery for the U.S. commercial and industrial construction industries in 2015. The reasonably brisk industry recovery in 2014 should continue in 2015, with momentum especially growing in segments closely related to the current American energy and industrial production resurgence.

"ABC forecasts nonresidential construction spending will expand by roughly 7.5% next year," said ABC chief economist Anirban Basu. "The segments that will experience the largest growth in construction spending in 2015 include power (e.g. natural gas-related construction), lodging (leisure and business spending), office space (professional services employment creation) and manufacturing (rebounding industrial production).

"The public sector will see far more sluggish growth in construction spending," Basu warned. "However, this fits a multi-year pattern with private nonresidential spending exceeding public nonresidential spending by 28% in 2014, up from 15.6% in 2013.

"There are always issues, of course, including compensation costs that will rise more quickly per worker next year than in years past," Basu cautioned. "This will be particularly apparent in areas like Louisiana and Northern California, places that have experienced significant economic growth recently. Additionally, while material price inflation has been suppressed, it may accelerate in 2015. Last year, prices were suppressed due to a combination of factors, such as softer growth in most of Europe and Asia, rising energy production here in the U.S., and a stronger dollar. Some of these factors might not be as prominent next year, so the stage could be set for price increases close to 3%.

"Taking into account current economic momentum, especially in the form of employment growth, ongoing accommodative monetary policy and increased growth in consumer spending, further stoked by falling gasoline prices, 2015 should be a decent one for the U.S. economy," said Basu. "Contractors should continue to experience a lengthening backlog and the industry should continue to see increases in nonresidential construction spending and employment growth."

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