Construction Spending, Jobs Stall Post-Recession, Report Says

By Ben Fractenberg on October 26, 2011 2:17pm 

Lower Manhattan construction in September 2011.
Lower Manhattan construction in September 2011.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

MANHATTAN — Spending on construction has remained steady over the past two years but is still well below pre-recession levels, according to a report by New York Building Congress.

Construction spending is forecast to reach $27.7 billion in 2011, down 1 percent from 2010, the report found. The 2011 figure is down 11 percent from a 2007 peak of $31 billion.

"The current and forecasted employment numbers illustrate quite vividly the real life implications of the economic downturn on New York City and our industry," said Building Congress President Richard Anderson, in a statement.  

"As bad as the job losses have been to date, 2013 could be a painful year for a lot of local families if our employment projections hold."

The report was glum about the near future as well, saying there will be a "steep loss in jobs and spending in 2013."

An average of 106,900 construction jobs in total, citywide, is forecast for 2011, down 19 percent from a peak of 132,000 in 2008.

Government infrastructure spending is also down, with stimulus money running out, the report noted.

Federal dollars for mass transit, roads, bridges and other infrastructure will drop 10 percent this year, from $16.1 billion in 2010 to $14.4 billion in 2011, the report added.

"In addition to preparing the region for future growth, public sector spending has largely carried our industry in recent years," said Building Congress Chairman Peter Marchetto, in a statement. 

"The momentum has recently shifted, however, as City and State governments face growing deficits and with the federal government focused on debt reduction. It looks increasingly likely that our industry will need the private sector to pick up the slack, if we are to maintain a stable construction market in the coming years."

A new study forecasts a sharp drop in construction jobs in 2013.
A new study forecasts a sharp drop in construction jobs in 2013.
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DNAinfo/Patrick Michael Hughes

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