Fewer building starts, higher unemployment and rising vacancy rates are three trends economists predict for the construction industry in 2009. In a Webcast this week, Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors, said that nonresidential construction spending will fall as much as 9% this year. Fellow Webcast participant Jim Haughey, chief economist for Reed Construction Data, believes the nation's economy will hit bottom this summer or fall, and will not recover until the end of 2010.

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