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A Drop in April

National nonresidential construction spending declined 0.5% in April, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data published today by the U.S. Census Bureau. On a seasonally adjusted annualized basis, nonresidential spending totaled $786.2 billion for the month.

Spending was down on a monthly basis in nine of 16 nonresidential subcategories. Both private and public nonresidential construction spending were down 0.5% for the month.

“The fact that nonresidential construction spending continues to decline is no surprise whatsoever,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Many factors are at work, including the historic lag between broader economic recovery and the onset of persistent recovery in nonresidential construction. In other words, nonresidential spending levels reflect what the broader economy looked like about a year ago. A year ago, the economy was in dire shape.

“There’s more,” said Basu. “Conventional wisdom holds that many of the projects postponed during the earlier stages of the pandemic are set to come back to life. It is for this reason that many contractors have reported rising backlog and growing confidence in the six-month outlook for revenues, staffing levels and profits, according to ABC’s latest Construction Backlog Indicator and Construction Confidence Index. But just when it seemed safe to get back into the water, a new set of challenges has emerged. Among these are input shortages, rapidly rising materials prices and ongoing issues securing sufficiently skilled workers. What all this has done is to suppress the vigor of nonresidential construction’s current recovery by inducing certain project owners to further delay their projects, hoping to ultimately receive more favorable bids.

“As if this were not enough, certain construction segments may have been permanently undermined by the pandemic,” said Basu. “Among these are construction of new office buildings, shopping centers and hotels that cater to business travelers. The good news is that the longer-term outlook remains upbeat given the anticipated strength of the economic recovery to come, particularly if a sensible infrastructure package manages to make its way out of Washington, D.C.”

 

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.