He says the demand is there. So are capital markets. But.
“I'm not buying in to the proposition that the construction industry will recover in 2013,” Basu said. "What we have right now is an utter lack of confidence in the economy, and confidence represents a centrally important requirement for construction spending growth.
"We have capital and profitability in the broader economy, and there is money sitting in the banks," Basu continued. "But many decision-makers have adopted a wait-and-see attitude until the sea of uncertainty recedes. This uncertainty includes confusion regarding the future path of federal spending, tax rates, the financial chaos in Europe and our own 2012 elections.
"No sector of the economy during the recession has lost more jobs than the construction industry, with nearly 5 million since December 2007," Basu said. "And we now see job growth decelerating. The trend is not positive for construction employment in the months ahead.
"However, it's not all bad news," Basu said. "Certain construction segments likely will experience growth in the coming months, including healthcare and power generation."
Basu was joined by National Association of Home Builders' Chief Economist David Crowe and American Institute of Architects' Chief Economist Kermit Baker.
Baker wasn't particularly optimistic either.
“Non-residential construction feeds off of residential construction, and that remains very weak,” he said. “Financing is there, but it’s just beginning to thaw, and the broader economy is seeing uncertainty from the Euro debt crisis.”
If you missed it, you can view the full conference here.