On Oct. 29, the U.S. Commerce Dept. reported the U.S. economy grew by an unexpectedly high 3.5% during the third quarter of 2009, ending a string of four consecutive quarters of a shrinking economy. For many, this is a sign the recession may be abating. For others, this is just a sign the various government stimulus moves did their job for the time being, but more time and effort will be needed before a true recovery begins.
For many in the construction industry, it is not yet time to gear up for a resurgent market. As a trailing economic indicator, the construction sector still will have a long wait until the market rebounds. While federal stimulus money is being distributed and generating some work, state and local tax revenues are being strained. For the largest private-sector owners of projects in the U.S., many are waiting for employment to pick up and consumer sentiment to recover some of its enthusiasm before committing to major new capital projects. And with the U.S. Commerce Dept. reporting on Oct. 30 that consumer spending fell 0.5% in September, there is little enthusiasm to go around.