Global construction began to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020, reports the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' (RICS) Global Construction Monitor. Its Global Construction Activity Index, which measures current and expected workloads in residential, nonresidential and infrastructure sectors, as well as company profit margins, registered at +3 for the quarter, after sitting at -9 in the third quarter of the year.

North America's index came in at +5 overall, with the U.S. and Canada registered a +9 and +19, respectively.  

"The building blocks for recovery are being put into place, with construction activity growing once more on the back of concerted infrastructure investment and rising optimism,” says Sean Ellison, senior economist at RICS.

Survey respondents in North America expect workloads in 2021 to continue to rebound, particularly in the infrastructure and private residential markets.

“With infrastructure a key driver in leading this bounce-back, greater government spending will be vital," says Ellison. "Many governments have committed to substantial infrastructure spending, bringing forward shovel-ready projects, and we can expect more fiscal stimulus. How effectively this capital is put to use will dictate the speed of our recovery."