Construction spending this year through July totaled $981 billion nationally, an 8.2% jump from the previous year. The US economy, itself, grew at a 4.6% annual pace in the second quarter, matching the best performance since the recession ended in mid-2009. The increase in real gross domestic product was revised up from 4.2%, mainly because of higher exports and business investment, the Commerce Department said Friday.
“We’re the strongest we’ve been in quite a while,” Ken Simonson, chief economist of the Associated General Contractors of America recently said during a meeting of the Surety Association of Ohio/Ohio Contractors Association.
However, even though the number of construction jobs topped 6 million in August for the first time in five years, employment is still 22% below the peak before the recession hit, and spending is still below what it was in 2006, he told the Columbus Dispatch
Simonson attributed the recent improvement to 3 factors:
“The shale boom, expansion of the Panama Canal and upswing in downtowns of multifamily residential projects are helping,” he said.
While the actual extraction of oil is considered mining, shale have led to the construction of access roads, pads for wells, housing for machinery, storage areas and pipelines.
Simonson also pointed to the expansion of the Panama Canal, which has led to construction projects at east and west coast ports to accommodate the bigger ships that will soon be arriving.