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Press Release

Construction Industry to Remain Flat in 2012, Says McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge Outlook Report

Housing and commercial building construction starts may improve, but will be offset by weakness in the public works and institutional building sectors
Washington, D.C. – October 19, 2011

McGraw-Hill Construction, part of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), today released its 2012 Dodge Construction Outlook, a mainstay in construction industry forecasting and business planning, which predicts that overall U.S. construction starts for next year will remain essentially flat.  The level of construction starts in 2012 is expected to be $412 billion, following the 4% decline to $410 billion predicted for 2011.

To watch a video about the forecast featuring Robert Murray, McGraw-Hill Construction’s Vice President of Economic Affairs, visit http://www.youtube.com/user/McGrawHillConstructn.

“The construction industry has struggled to see recovery take hold over the past couple of years. After plunging 24% in 2009, new construction starts leveled off in 2010 and have hovered within a set range during 2011,” said Robert Murray, Vice President of Economic Affairs, McGraw-Hill Construction.  “The backdrop for the construction industry is the fragile U.S. economy, which continues to see slow employment growth, diminished funding from federal and state governments, and pervasive uncertainty. In 2012, the top-line numbers are not expected to show much change, but there will be variation within the major construction sectors, with some gains predicted for housing and commercial building assuming the U.S. economy avoids recession.”

Based on significant research and in-depth analysis of macro-trends, the 2012 Dodge Construction Outlook details the forecasts for each construction sector, as follows:

  • Single family housing in 2012 will improve 10% in dollars, corresponding to a 7% increase in the number of units to 435,000 (McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge basis).  This is still a low amount, as the excess supply of homes due to foreclosures continues to depress the market.
  • Multifamily housing will rise 18% in dollars and 17% in units, continuing its moderate, upward trend.
  • Commercial building will grow 8%.  Warehouses and hotels will see the largest percentage increases, but improvement for offices and stores will be modest.
  • The institutional building market will slip an additional 2% in 2012, after falling 15% in 2011.  The tough fiscal environment for states and localities will continue to dampen school construction, and the uncertain economic environment will limit growth in healthcare facilities.
  • Manufacturing buildings will increase 4%, following the 35% gain in 2011, as the low value of the U.S. dollar continues to support export growth.
  • Public works construction will drop a further 5%, after a 16% decline in 2011, due to spending cuts and the absence of a multiyear federal transportation bill for highway and bridge construction.
  • Electric utilities will retreat 24%, following a 48% jump in 2011.


The 2012 Dodge Construction Outlook was presented at McGraw-Hill Construction’s 73rd annual Outlook Executive Conference in Washington, D.C., where the construction industry’s best minds and most experienced players discussed the economic outlook and latest industry trends.  Outlook is the definitive event for construction professionals to prepare for the year ahead.  In addition to Robert Murray’s Dodge Construction Outlook presentation, industry experts delivered forecasts for residential building, building materials, labor costs, and the economy as a whole, shedding light on these crucial sectors.

Copies of the report can be ordered at http://analyticsstore.construction.com/dodge-2012-construction-outlook.html.  Additional reports and projections are available from McGraw-Hill Construction Research and Analytics, http://construction.com/market_research.  Find us on LinkedIn at http://linkd.in/9qoQ8o, follow @MHConstruction or #Outlook12 for news from the event, and check out future McGraw-Hill Construction events at http://construction.com/events.

The Outlook 2012 Executive Conference is produced by McGraw-Hill Construction.  The platinum sponsor is the American Institute of Steel Construction. Gold sponsors include CMiC, Hill International, and United Rentals.  The Associated General Contractors of America, American Society of Civil Engineers, and Astadia are silver sponsors.  Supporting sponsors include the American Subcontractors Association, the Construction Specifications Institute, and the Society for Marketing Professional Services.

About McGraw-Hill Construction:
McGraw-Hill Construction connects people, projects, and products across the construction industry.  For more than a century, it has remained North America’s leading provider of project and product information, plans and specifications, and industry news, trends, and forecasts.  McGraw-Hill Construction serves more than one million customers in the global construction industry through Dodge, Sweets, Architectural Record, Engineering News-Record, GreenSource, and SNAP.  To learn more, visit www.construction.com or follow @mhconstruction on Twitter.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies:
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global financial information and education company that helps professionals and students succeed in the knowledge economy.  Leading brands include Standard and Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts energy information services, and J.D. Power and Associates.  The Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees with more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2010 were $6.2 billion.  Additional information is available at www.mcgraw-hill.com.

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Media Contacts:
Lisa Jaycox, Manager, External Communications,
The McGraw-Hill Companies Information & Media, +1 212-512-3272, lisa_jaycox@mcgraw-hill.com

Kathy Malangone, Senior Director, Marketing Communications,
McGraw-Hill Construction, +1 212-904-4376, kathy_malangone@mcgraw-hill.com

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