Construction spending data stable, investment in structures down

The Marcum Commercial Construction Index for the first quarter of 2020 reports an industry suffering the adverse effects of COVID-19. Construction employment fell by nearly one million jobs from March to April 2020, a decrease of 12.8 percent. The industry’s unemployment rate increased from 6.9 percent in March to 16.6 percent in April, the highest level since early 2012. The index is produced by Marcum’s National Construction group.

Nonresidential construction spending data from March does not reflect the severity of the economic contraction and stood at an annualized rate of $802.6 billion, down 0.1 percent from February 2020 but up 2 percent year-over-year. Twelve of the 16 nonresidential construction sectors contracted on a monthly basis in March, and the largest increases were in primarily publicly financed segments like public safety (+5.4 percent) and highway and street (+4.5 percent).

Commercial construction will be among the slower segments of the economy to recover. Marcum expects firms to compensate by searching for projects involving remodeling and renovations rather than fixating on new construction. For the complete Marcum Commercial Construction Index, visit

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