U.S. Industry Holding Well Despite Recession

The Marcum Commercial Construction Index for the second quarter of 2020 reports that the U.S. industry is holding relatively well in the face of the COVID-19-driven recession. Anirban Basu, author of the report and Marcum’s chief construction economist, credits public sector strength and the backlogs contractors had at the onset of the recession for construction’s relative stability but warns that there may be trouble in the coming months. “Due to the sudden supply shock to the U.S. economy and massive dislocations sustained during the second quarter, many contractors report both project postponements and cancellations in unusual numbers.” Non-residential construction spending data indicate that private sector spending contracted 3.2 per cent on a year-over-year basis in July, while public sector spending increased by 5.7 per cent. Spending totalled $812.9 billion on a seasonally adjusted, annual rate in July.