Regardless of your political affiliation, at least we will now see some relief from the 24/7 barrage of political advertisements.
At the same time, however, many people across the country are asking the same question: What’s next? Partisan gridlock will continue in Congress, but can the positive economic momentum seen in recent months continue?
When it comes to the construction sector, at least, most people believe it can. In terms of employment, construction added 17,000 new jobs in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, the industry has added 29,000 new jobs since May. Looking further into the numbers, 83,000 construction positions have been added since hitting a low point in January 2011.
Higher Employment the Tip of the Iceberg
Obviously, the more construction jobs added the better for the overall health of the industry. But there are several other factors besides employment that point toward improvement in the sector under President Obama. The Commerce Department, for instance, reported last week that construction spending reached its highest level in nearly three years in September. Construction permits also sharply rose by 12 percent last month climbing to 894,000, an increase of more than 93 percent in the last year, according to Marketwire.
Commercial construction, specifically, appears to be on the mend, according to Robert Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw Hill Construction (MHC). Murray told the USGlass News Network that the construction of new stores and an increasing number of large-scale architectural projects are about to break ground and should pave the way for commercial construction growth in 2013.
“Certainly the corner has turned for the long depressed commercial market,” Murray explained, adding that despite lingering uncertainty, “there are bright spots you can hang your hat on.”
The Sandy Effect
Apart from the election, another factor to consider is the superstorm Sandy cleanup and recovery efforts currently underway in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. According to The Associated Press, industry analysts are predicting residential and commercial construction will ultimately receive a boost from the rebuilding process, from the modular buildings and mobile offices being set up during the initial recovery stages, to the roads, bridges and buildings that will be repaired and replaced over the next several months.