"Growth has been steady and well distributed among the major construction segments for the past several months," Simonson observed. "For the first 11 months of 2005, total construction was 9 percent higher than in the same months of 2004. Private residential construction grew 11 percent, public construction, 8 percent, and private nonresidential, 5 percent.
"The leading categories have been multi-retail (general merchandise, shopping centers, and shopping malls), up 25 percent year-to-date; manufacturing construction, 23 percent; private multifamily, 21 percent; hospitals, 13 percent; private single-family, 12 percent; and highways and streets, 11 percent," Simonson noted.
"Fast-rising materials and fuel costs have exaggerated the growth in some of these categories, especially highway construction," Simonson added.
Simonson predicted, "For 2006, I expect the cost of fuel, asphalt, and plastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe, to average 10-20 percent higher than in 2005, because of high petroleum and natural gas costs. Copper remains expensive, and I expect continuing spot shortages of cement that will push concrete prices higher nationwide. However, steel, wood, and gypsum products should be no higher on average than in 2005 despite a lot of month-to-month volatility.
"The leading construction segments are likely to be manufacturing, health care, and lodging," Simonson said. "Single-family construction will fade as the year goes on."
The Associated General Contractors of America represents more than 32,000 firms, including 7,000 leading general contractors, and over 11,000 specialty-contracting firms. For more information, visit www.agc.org.
Publication date: 01/09/2006