NYC Building Congress forecasts ‘roaring recovery’ for construction

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New York Construction Report staff writer

This year’s Construction Outlook released this week by the New York Building Congress, shows New York City’s building industry enjoying a “roaring recovery” as it bounces back from the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Construction spending and building levels over the next three years are projected to be “relentlessly bullish” in the face of changes in the city’s workforce patterns.

The report emphasizes successes and predicts even more growth and advancement following President Joe Biden’s historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) of 2021 – an investment that will help rebuild NYC’s roads, bridges, and rails; expand access to clean drinking water; ensure every New Yorker has access to high-speed internet; fight back against the climate crisis, while advancing environmental justice; and improve quality of life in our communities.

The Building Congress urges the federal government to move quickly to release funds to spur the built environment of New York.

While some of the increased spending in 2022-2024 represents cost increases in construction, much is attributed to counterbalancing depressed construction activity in 2020-2021, the report state, warning that cutbacks in development over the remaining months of 2022, or a reduction in price increases could dramatically dampen this outlook.

The Congress forecasts $86 billion in New York City construction spending in 2022, up $13.7 billion – 19% from 2019, in inflation-adjusted dollars. Labor and material prices have escalated while shortfalls in development during COVID years are being addressed. Spending in nominal dollars is expected to grow to $87 billion in 2023 and $96 billion in 2024. Compared to the pre-COVID, period from 2017 to 2019, this reflects an inflation-adjusted increase of $37.8 billion.

Employment numbers are still below pre-COVID levels, but the building industry is set to create tens of thousands of new jobs within three years, the report states, ad the Building Congress projects employment in the construction of buildings, heavy and civil engineering and specialty trades to total 139,000 jobs in 2022, 143,000 in 2023 and 142,500 in 2024.

Numbers by sector:

  • Residential: Compared to the pre-COVID three-year period 2017- 2019, forecasted residential spending for 2022-2024 will be up almost 70 percent in nominal dollars to almost $93 billion.
  • Non-residential spending, including office space, retail, hotels, institutional development, entertainment venues, and recreational facilities, is expected to reach $106 billion in nominal spending between 2022 and 2024.
  • Government spending under current conditions is expected to increase to almost $21 billion in 2022, $23.6 billion in 2023 and $26.9 billion in 2024.

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