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  • Forecast 2006
  • The complete Forecast 2006 cover story with all data and analysis is free to ENR subscribers but can also be purchased for only $17.95. click here for more information.
  • The U.S. Dept. of Commerce predicts that the momentum of this year’s markets will carry over into 2006, leading to another 6% increase in the total value of construction put-in-place. This will follow a robust 10.5% increase in this year’s market, which Commerce estimates to be $1.136 trillion. "Public works is coming on very strong and the private nonresidential building markets are nicely poised for a long, sustainable upswing," says Commerce economist Patrick MacAuley. In addition, he believes the housing market will continue to be strong through most of next year. "There is very little disagreement among economists that we are very close to the peak in housing but I think it will come later in the construction season because there is just too much inertia in the market," MacAuley says. Commerce’s forecast calls for growth in the home building market to slow from 14% this year to about 6% in 2006. Health care is predicted to remain a "solid performer" with the market matching this year’s 8% gain again next year. The improved financial situation of state and local governments will keep the educational market going strong for several more years, MacAuley says. The strongest growth markets next year will be highways, manufacturing and conservation work and all are expected to post double-digit increases.