McGraw-Hill releases 2009 construction outlook

The upheaval in the financial markets has put the breaks on construction projects across the country, and the reverberations will be felt well into 2009, according to a report by McGraw-Hill Construction. The company’s annual forecast predicts a 12 percent decline in commercial building construction in 2009, as measured in dollars, with stores and warehouses suffering the greatest losses.

Institutional buildings will slip 3 percent, in terms of dollars spent, as funding from state and local sources tapers off. These fiscal woes, combined with flat funding at the federal level, will affect public works projects, which are expected to slide by 5 percent, the forecast said.

Electric utility construction is expected to retreat 30 percent after surging 55 percent in 2008, according to McGraw-Hill.

This year will end with an overall decline of 12 percent in construction activity, with store construction taking the biggest hit with a 30-percent drop in retail square footage.

In single-family housing, McGraw-Hill is predicting that 560,000 units will be built in 2009.

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