Through the first four months of 2009 the total value of construction starts reached $117 billion, which was 39% less than the first four months of last year, according to McGraw-Hill Construction. “The pattern of construction starts over the past two months suggests a transition from extended declines to more of an up-and-down pattern, which generally takes place when a bottom gets established,” says Robert Murray, MHC’s chief economist. “This process of establishing a bottom is still in its early stages.” The public-works market is expected to see more strength as the impact of the stimulus bill begins to emerge.
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.