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Construction Industry Growth

The darkest days could be over for the region's ailing construction industry, according to a leading industry group. The backlog for commercial construction projects in the Northeast increased to 7.3 months for the first three months of the year, up from nearly six months for the first quarter of 2009, according to Associated Builders and Contractors Inc.

Nationally, the backlog in construction orders is just shy of 6.1 months. The numbers coincide with the first drop in Maryland’s jobless rate since December 2007. Joblessness in the state’s construction industry has fallen for the past three months. ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu, in a statement, said he sees the increase as “a sign that nonresidential construction’s rebound is spreading beyond government-financed projects and is increasingly private-sector motivated.”

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Basu, also CEO of Sage Policy Group Inc. in Baltimore, warned the figures could be artificially inflated by federally funded stimulus projects, resulting in a slump in construction orders once those projects are completed.

“With the broader economy having been in recovery for the better part of a year, and with stimulus spending still having an impact, the expectation is that for now, backlog will remain stable or better in the months ahead,” Basu said.

The numbers support what’s been a steady rise in construction employment in Maryland for the past three months. The number of natural resources, mining and construction jobs in the state increased to about 147,200 jobs, up 5.7 percent from February. But compared to last April the industry is still 7.8 percent down.


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December 10, 2019, 7:54 pm PDT

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