This year started out well, with a stimulus jolt to the depressed homebuilding and public-works markets. But it ended badly when the tax credits to home buyers expired, federal stimulus spending fell short of expectations, and the non-residential building market tanked all on its own. As a result, 2010 will probably become known in the economic lexicon as “the stalled recovery.”
In a word, what stalled is housing, which traditionally leads the construction industry out of a recession. A year ago economists were predicting 30% increases in the housing market, but that turned into a mere 6% gain, not enough to carry a recovery, especially with the non-residential market posting double-digit declines and massive federal stimulus funding managing to boost public works by only 2%, according to McGraw-Hill Construction’s estimates for 2010.