Total construction starts could improve in 2014 and are expected to rise to 9% due to the rebound in housing construction and better opportunities for commercial projects, according to McGraw Hill Construction's Dodge Construction Outlook. "It's another step along the road to recovery, but on the painful to frustrating side at times," says Robert Murray, vice president of economic affairs at McGraw Hill Construction. "The modest increases should be able to be sustained as we proceed into 2014 and beyond." Restrained public funding, federal and state projects will continue to be a challenge.

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