State economic recovery to vary depending on deficits, market strength

Source: Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill.

The national economy is expected to recover during 2011-2012, generating 2.5 million jobs in 2011 and 2.7 million in 2012. However, due to the over-supply characteristics in residential and commercial markets, coupled with persistent state deficits, construction activity may encounter a more prolonged recovery. According to a recent PCA report, relatively flat conditions will face the United States cement market for the next two years.

The report also illustrated a variety of recovery rates by region and state. Overall, North Dakota, Nebraska, Alaska, Arkansas, and Washington, D.C., have the strongest relative construction fundamentals. Nevada, Florida, Arizona, Mississippi, and Rhode Island currently have the weakest construction fundamentals. Construction recoveries will emerge in local markets before being reflected in national numbers. For example, the five top states that will lead the housing recovery are North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Nebraska, and Iowa. North Dakota, Alaska, Washington, D.C., Texas, and Nebraska are the most promising for commercial construction recovery. Montana is also emerging on the commercial sector due to drops in unemployment in recent months.

However, the initial commercial recovery is not expected to contribute much to overall U.S. growth. Only three regions have fully recovered recession-related job losses. Of these, North Dakota, Alaska, and D.C. account for only 1.1 percent of U.S. employment. States meeting the criteria to lead the public sector recovery are D.C., Arkansas, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Virginia.

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