It is a long-established view that when you want to boost the economy, get building. Infrastructure investment, and the construction industry, provides a strong economic stimulus.

From Herbert Hoover to the present day, the USA has proven particularly skilful at employing a policy of development to, quite literally, build its way out of economic downturns. It doubles down on public buildings, dams, highways, and harbours, whilst imploring the private sector to retain employees and, to a greater or lesser extent, go big or go home.

For all intents and purposes, that modus operandi seems to be working once again.

Forecasts predict growth and increasing momentum

Forecasts have predicted that the US construction industry is set to grow in 2022 and beyond, towards 2026, although there seems to be some discrepancy as to how much it’s going to grow by. One report (from February 2022) suggested 8.8%, reaching US $1,355,097 million this year. This follows another (published in November 2021), which forecast 3.7% growth in 2022, before it registers an annual average growth of 3.7% over the remainder of the forecast period.

It’s quite the discrepancy, as growth seemingly gains rapid momentum, with the latter figures sitting alongside predictions including:

“The growth momentum is expected to continue over the forecast period, recording a CAGR of 5.0% during 2022-2026. The construction output in the country is expected to reach USD 1,650,159.2 million by 2026.”

Presidential input

Those forecasts assume growth in both the residential and commercial sectors as well as long-term investments on transport, energy, utilities and climate-related initiatives following the approval on August 10th, 2021 of the US $550 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The White House wrote:

“This Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will rebuild America’s roads, bridges and rails, expand access to clean drinking water, ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind. The legislation will help ease inflationary pressures and strengthen supply chains by making long overdue improvements for our nation’s ports, airports, rail, and roads. It will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come. Combined with the President’s Build Back Framework, it will add on average 1.5 million jobs per year for the next 10 years.”

Overcoming the odds

All of this is despite the challenges we know the construction industry has been facing around the world: materials shortages, skills shortages and enormously delayed projects. It is a subject that our CEO, Peter Elliott-Hughes commented on recently on LinkedIn, and it’s a trend we are seeing to different degrees around the world as the industry showcases its characteristic resilience and determination to move forwards.

At Tungsten Capital, we have long had respect for the US construction industry, having had offices in the United States for many years, and more recently having partnered with Rider Levett Bucknall (North America) to provide construction claims consultancy to the heavy engineering sector across North America. It is therefore a joy, despite the challenges, to see indications of such positive growth.

There is nothing so inspiring as a can-do attitude, and it seems America’s tradition of having that in spades remains alive and strong.