Upticks ahead for school, office, recreation and manufacturing sectors

Robert Murray, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics, said in November that "Construction firms should anticipate a sense of deceleration heading into 2018, but the industry still has room to grow this year as some sectors show continued expansion in terms of starts and spending". Getting more number-specific, Murray predicts total construction starts will rise 3 percent in 2018 following a 4 percent gain in 2017.

Upticks ahead for school, office, recreation and manufacturing sectors

While single-family housing starts should rise about 7 percent this year, the multifamily sector is poised to dip 11 percent. Murray expects nonresidential building starts to increase 2 percent to 1,133 million square feet ($281.7 billion) in 2018.


The top metro areas for office construction include the usual big cities, as well as San Jose, Calif., Houston and Baltimore. Next in line are warehouses, projected to see a 4 percent increase in dollar value to $21.5 billion. This comes on the heels of a 16 percent decline in square footage in 2017—a downsizing trend that will continue.


Keep an eye on Texas, New York, California, Washington, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Florida, Illinois and Michigan for the most K-12 construction spending. Overall, educational building square footage is expected to rise 8 percent to 44 million square feet in 2018.

The amusement and recreational sector is another bright spot due to the development being planned in tandem with stadium and arena projects. Activity will be strongest in Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, California, Missouri, Colorado and Massachusetts. Transportation terminals were the darling of the institutional category in 2017, rising 120 percent in dollar value to $20.6 billion. Going forward in 2018, the country will see a modest 3 percent gain to reach 17.9 million square feet ($9 billion dollar value).


Meanwhile, the dollar value will retreat 1 percent to $25.1 billion in 2018 in light of a 27 percent surge last year. This category dropped 31 percent to $32 billion in 2017 and is forecast to fall another 13 percent to $28 billion this year.

Public Works and Infrastructure

The nation’s largest and most populous states continue to boast the most roadwork: Texas, California, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, Georgia and New Jersey. Last year’s 11 percent decline will be largely corrected by a 9 increase this year to $32.3 billion.

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