Tough economic times around the world are taking a toll on global construction spending. Back-to-back annual declines have been reported for the first time in two decades, according to results of an annual survey of 69 construction markets. In its 2009 global construction outlook, IHS Global Insight Construction Services, Lexington, Mass., projects a 3.7% decline in total global spending this year, to $5.6 trillion. This dip would come on top of a 1.2% drop in 2008. The combined figures represent “the steepest decline in global construction spending in at least 20 years,” says Scott Hazelton, the research firm’s director of construction services. “Contractions in world construction activity are unusual but are occurring because of the [concurrent] downturn in national economies around the globe.”
Hazelton notes spending declines everywhere except in Asia, with that region projecting just 2.6% growth, down from 8.4% in 2006 (see chart). China’s 2009 construction market is the largest of those tracked, at $701 billion. IHS predicts a slight decline in growth through 2013.