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Construction industry not seeing stimulus effect

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

CEOs say the stimulus is not boosting the construction industry.
CEOs say the stimulus is not boosting the construction industry.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, known as the economic stimulus package, has yet to provide much of a boost to the construction industry, according to a survey by the Construction Industry Round Table.

The survey asked CEOs in the construction, engineering and design industries whether they had seen any effects from the stimulus, to which 62 percent said "no." Only 38 percent said they have seen its effect.

"While still early in the process, the initial reports are mixed at best and belie uneasiness about the timing, focus and effectiveness of the estimated $100 billion which will go directly to infrastructure design and construction," said Mark A. Casso, president of the Construction Industry Round Table.

The dollars flowing from the stimulus package are seen as a short-term lift, helping some states to balance their budgets and approving new construction work down the road, Casso said.

Proponents of the stimulus had hoped federal funds would help companies create construction jobs and circulate money in related industries, including construction equipment.

But the general view among the CEOs about the stimulus and the administration's emphasis on "shovel ready" projects - which tend to be smaller, short-term type work - is that these projects cannot replace the loss of private sector investments in capital projects, Casso said.

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