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Construction Spending Shrinks 2.9 Percent In April As Public Agencies, Private Owners Halt Work; Association Urges Boost To Federal Financing

June 1, 2020

New Federal Investments in Transportation, Other Types of Infrastructure Will Help Offset Expected Declines in State and Local Funding as State Budgets Suffer Impacts of Coronavirus Lockdowns

Construction spending plunged in April as governmental agencies and project owners shut down ongoing work and canceled projects that were about to break ground, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government data released today. Association officials warned that further steep declines are inevitable for public projects unless the federal government acts quickly to invest in needed infrastructure and shore up crumbling state and local budgets.

“Bad though these numbers are, construction spending appears sure to shrink further,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “In our latest survey, 40 percent of contractors report that an upcoming project has been canceled. But this is a great time to undertake needed infrastructure projects, with more availability of labor, lower materials costs and record-low borrowing costs for many public agencies.”

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