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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New York: Barometer of Construction Health

In Commercial Real Estate & Construction, Nov. 24, 2009, the New York Building Congress analysis is cited showing that construction in New York City is showing signs of stabilizing in the third quarter, with projects worth $3.9 billion getting underway.

This, per the McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge data, was the second consecutive quarter when project starts hovered around the $4 billion range.

First quarter project starts totaled just $1.8 billion, whereas starts in the third quarter of 2008 -- before the economy tanked -- added up to $5.3 billion.

Residential construction starts averaged $193 million per month for the third quarter, up to $137 million per month in the second quarter, but well shy of the $ 477 million figure of 2008’s third quarter.

Experts estimate unemployment among unionized construction workers has hit about 25%.

It is intriguing that the Building and Construction Trade Council has agreed to new hiring-hall practices that allow non–union minority or women-owned contractors to bring more of their own workforce onto jobs they manage.

This is a positive move on the part of the BCTC. But is it enough when it relates to potential savings in construction costs? No.

We are looking for New York to step back into its role as a leader in construction.

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