Al Bargas, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors Pelican chapter in Baton Rouge, adds that his members are optimistic that there will be significant industrial projects getting under way in 2013 and continuing for several years thereafter.

"If this happens, and the economy continues to improve and lending sources begin to open up, commercial development will follow," he says. "Industrial maintenance and construction did hold its own for most of 2012, with an uptick in the last quarter, and several large expansions and new project starts were announced for the Mississippi River Corridor and in the Lake Charles area."

2013 and Beyond

There is a lot of uncertainty at play in the Gulf Coast region but, nonetheless, still widespread optimism for next year. "There is too much beyond our local market's control, both nationally and internationally, to assume the construction business will simply head up," says TEXO's Brown. "However, I do think the market fundamentals and opportunities are present locally for it to remain steady and perhaps show a little growth in 2013."