Despite concerns, the United States construction industry saw a strong first quarter, with projections of steady, albeit lower level, growth in Q2. Even though developers and occupiers are proceeding with caution, they continue to build, especially within retail. Building Design + Construction summarizes the JLL 2016 Q1 Construction Perspective here:
A strong retail sector has helped drive 2016 U.S. construction activity with retail construction projects up 24.4% year-over-year. Overshadowing the good news is a cloud of economic uncertainty that has companies laser-focused on lean budgeting and smart spending decisions.
According to JLL’s latest report on non-residential construction activity, U.S. construction employment grew 4.7% in the first quarter of 2016 over the first quarter of 2015, with many workers engaged on retail projects. Concerns about China’s steep economic deceleration, combined with a drop in U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) from 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 0.5% in the first quarter of 2016, have made companies reluctant to invest.
The market for commercial construction remains active for now. The JLL report shows a strong first quarter with steady growth projected for second quarter. The office, industrial and retail sectors are very active as companies continue projects that broke ground a year or two ago. A hint of the economic clouds causing concern comes from a small decline in office construction starts.
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