The New York construction market next year is likely to mirror that of the national market, which McGraw-Hill Construction recently forecast as flat at about $412 billion in starts. McGraw-Hill Construction, the parent company of ENR New York, expects 2011 total starts to hit $410 billion, a 4% drop over 2010.

The company cites slow economic growth, diminished federal and state funding, and "pervasive uncertainty." Next year "the top-line numbers are not expected to show much change, but there will be variation within the major construction sectors, with some gains predicted for housing and commercial building, assuming the U.S. economy avoids recession," says Robert Murray, vice president of economic affairs at McGraw-Hill Construction.

The situation in the tri-state region is not expected to be much different, executives say. "The construction forecast for 2012 continues to look bleak for New York State," says Mike Elmendorf, president and CEO of the Associated General Contractors of New York State. "An aging and in many cases, failing, infrastructure is just one more item on an already too long list of factors dragging down New York's economy," he says. Several sectors statewide are in need of extensive repair, including the sewer and drinking water systems, roadways and sidewalks, and bridges, he adds.

However, if the state invested $1 billion in nonresidential construction, $3.4 billion would be added to the GDP and $1.1 billion to personal earnings, and 28,500 jobs would be created or sustained, Elmendorf says. AGC NYS also advocates that the state develop natural gas deposits in the Marcellus Shale, a move that Elmendorf says would create jobs and industry growth.