Friday, December 11, 2009

Phoenix falling

The Associated General Contractors of America, facing the potential of another 430,000 job losses in 2010 in the wake of 20% unemployment through the end of this year, is encouraging federal lawmakers to pass new transportation spending measures. Officials hope that will ease some of the bloodletting, but it may be too late for former hotbed Phoenix, which lost more construction jobs from October 2008 through October 2009 than any other major U.S. market.

"There's almost no place to go but up," AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson said, referring to the dire situation facing general contractors these days. So, while the national unemployment rate is down to 10%, things continue to look bleak on the construction arena and in commercial real estate.

In one glimmer of hope, it looks like about 400 workers will be needed to build the biggest wind farm in the U.S. in Oregon, after General Electric secured the $1.4-billion contract. Shepherd's Flat is expected to be able to power 235,000 California homes and will supply 10% of Southern California Edison's renewable energy.

So, how long do you think the downturn will last for the construction industry? How much worse will it get?

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