AGC of America: Construction spending surges in January

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The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America said this week that U.S. construction spending surged in January, reaching heights not seen in over seven years.

January’s construction spending totaled $1.141 trillion, seasonally adjusted, which is 1.5 percent more than December spending.

Strong gains were reported across the board in the past year, at year-over-year spending rates not seen since October 2008.

Some attribute the January increases to the milder weather. Despite economic worries, these numbers suggest a strong demand for construction work.

“There were solid gains for both the month and year in apartment, nonresidential and highway construction,” Ken Simonson, chief economist for AGC of America, said. “Although favorable weather may have boosted these results, demand for many types of projects remains strong, despite worries that the overall economy has slowed.”

The high demand for construction work has experts concerned about the ongoing shortage of qualified workers.

“Growing demand for construction is only helpful if firms have enough workers to perform the work,” AGC of America CEO Stephen Sandherr said. “Without a better pipeline for recruiting and preparing new workers, (builders) will have difficulty completing projects on time because they don’t have enough workers on staff.”

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