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2020 Construction Outlook

While the overall market is expected to slow down in 2020, pockets of growth will exist in some local metros and niches of the construction business.

Construction PicElectrical contractors, specifying engineers, and other electrical professionals who depend on the construction market for a living may one day fondly look back on the past few years as “the good old days.” Most construction market niches and regions of the United States have bounced back from the depths of the Great Recession from 2007 to 2009 and enjoyed several years of steady, but not spectacular, growth. Get ready for a change of pace, as many economic indicators point to a construction market growing a bit slower than it has over the last few years.

Most of the sources we spoke with for this construction forecast special report aren’t suggesting anything catastrophic, but they do expect a noticeable slowdown in 2020. However, all business is local, and every city or geographic region of the United States, as well as each of the key segments of the construction market, will have a different economic story to tell next year.

Some project types have really stood out over the past few years — data centers, airports, light rail, ports, liquid natural gas (LNG) projects along the Louisiana-Texas Gulf Coast, wind farms, and “live-work-play” mixed-use developments built either downtown or in the suburbs. These projects have provided many electrical contractors and design and specification professionals with some lucrative business opportunities and should continue to do so in 2020.

On a geographic basis, metropolitan areas that recently enjoyed particularly strong construction markets include Boston, New York, Miami, Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Chicago, Denver and Colorado’s Front Range, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. The residential market in Phoenix remains hot, and while Texas’ Midland-Odessa region has had several crazy-busy years related to a booming oil business, in recent months that market has slowed.

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