How Did Construction Fare in 2013?

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The United States Census Bureau released its 2013 construction statistics, which show sluggish growth overall. Construction workers and company owners often pay close attention to official statistics because they provide valuable information that can help them adjust their workforces and follow market trends. There was a marked difference between 2013 construction statistics for private housing and governmental spending. Depending on the type of work you perform or your company undertakes, this could mean good news or ill tidings.

Construction workers who regularly accept jobs in the private housing sector may be heartened to know that the housing rebound continues and growth skyrocketed to the highest levels since 2008. The overall number of projects is still far below the all-time high set in 2006 during the height of the housing bubble, but continued growth is definitely a good sign. There is also speculation that the rise in construction of expensive homes may slow growth. New mortgage rules and a slow job recovery in the economy at large may also slow the overall growth trend in this segment of the market. The 2013 construction statistics indicated private home construction growth of 18 percent over the previous year.

The 2013 construction statistics showed much less investment in government projects. The Commerce Department confirmed that government construction spending dropped by 14.2 percent over the course of the year, indicating a return to spending levels not seen since 2007. Sequester cuts and political showdowns over government spending cut deeply into the number and scope of projects undertaken by the United States government during the year. Construction industry data focused on state spending showed a lesser decline of only 1.6 percent during 2013, but that segment of the government construction market accounts for a far larger portion of the market.

Construction industry data as a whole, including the 2013 construction statistics for both residential and governmental sectors, indicates only moderate growth. Overall growth clocked in at 4.8 percent above 2012 totals. This shows that the large investment in private housing is helping to offset the sharp decrease in government construction project spending. Companies that hire individuals specializing in government installations may likely shrink or sustain current workforce numbers, while the housing rebound may see private home construction companies offering many more opportunities in the year to come.

The construction industry numbers for the year are disheartening for those who specialize in work commonly associated with governmental projects, but a wealth of new opportunities in the private housing market may help buoy workers who have transferrable skills. Housing growth offset governmental spending in the 2013 construction statistics, and continued growth in the number of high-paying jobs across the nation could help sustain that trend into the future. Higher-paying jobs also result in higher taxes and more opportunities to relieve some of the stress that may be hamstringing growth in governmental construction spending.



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