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The Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill., is predicting that total construction, after adjusting for inflation, will decline 2% next year, but all the decline will come from a weaker housing market. “What the data has been showing is that if you take housing out of the equation, you have very strong construction markets across the board,” says PCA Chief Economist Ed Sullivan. Public construction will continue to make the solid contributions to construction activity that it has done for several years, but the real growth potential is in the private nonresidential markets, says Sullivan. He predicts that this year’s phenomenal growth of 38% for hotel construction and 23% for hospital work will be followed by 10 and 6% increases next year, respectively. Double-digit growth will continue in the manufacturing market and growth will ratchet up a notch in office building and educational work, he says.

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