NYC construction industry remains robust overall despite COVID-19: NYBC Construction Outlook

nybc outlook report

The New York Building Congress (NYBC) says in its Construction Outlook 2020-2022 report that 2020 construction spending is forecast to exceed actual spending from eight of the past 10 years, despite the COVID-19 impacts.

“While New York City was one of the hardest-hit areas in the US and is still reeling from the effects of COVID-19, the building industry is weathering the storm and remains the heartbeat of the city’s economy,” Carlo A. Scissura, NYBC president and CEO, says in a statement. “This report evidences both the resiliency of the building industry and that investment in infrastructure creates jobs and boosts economic recovery. The Building Congress will continue working to ensure that this growth lasts for years to come.”

The report indicates that construction spending will likely to reach $55.5 billion in 2020, an 8.5 percent decline from 2019’s $60.6 billion. However, this amount would match the numbers for 2017, which was then a record-breaking amount.

New York City construction employment is expected to decline to 128,200 (a bit below the 2014 employment level). However, NYBC expects that the employment levels will rebound in 2021 with 136,650 jobs and 2022 with 140,200 jobs. Overall, for the three years, there will be an estimated 14 percent fewer construction jobs for 2020 to 2022 compared to 2017 – 2019, NYBC says.

In its report, NYBC estimates that total construction spending will reach $168.5 billion within three years, between 2020 and 2023. There would be $56.9 billion in 2021 and $56.1 billion in 2022.

By sector, NYBC expects residential construction spending will reach $17.8 billion this year, a decline from 2019’s peak of $19.7 billion. Overall, 20,450 new units will be added in 2020 and 15,000 units in 2021, totalling 50,450 new housing units from 2020 to 2022. This indicates a 14 percent decline in constructed floor space square footage and 33 percent fewer new housing units for the three years compared to 2017-19.

Non-residential construction spending (office space, institutional development, hotels and sports and entertainment venues) is expected to reach $16.6 billion in 2020, a decline from 2019’s $21.2 billion.

The NYBC expects construction spending throughout the five boroughs by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will increase to $8.7 billion this year, from 2019’s $8 billion. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey construction spending is also expected to increase this year to $3.5 billion for NYC capital projects, an increase from $2.1 billion in 2019.


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