ECONOMIC OUTLOOK FOR 2004
The United States economy is still on a slow path to recovery from the 2001 recession, but it is recovering. Economic growth slowed in October through December of 2003; however, growth stepped up for the year as a whole, according to estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, GDP increased at an inflation-adjusted annual rate of 4.0 percent after increasing 8.2 percent in the third quarter. GDP grew 3.1 percent for the year as a whole, and in 2002 it had only risen 2.2 percent.
In the construction sector of the economy, the industry continued to experience softness although the value of construction spending rose in 2003. According to the FMI Corporation's recently released report, The 2003-2004 U.S. Markets Construction Update, the outlook for 2004 is a positive one and the construction industry is on track for a stable recovery.
The residential construction sector, which makes up 51 percent of the construction market, is projected to remain strong in 2004. Factors driving this activity could shift though, as the nation's record low mortgage rates slowly disappear, leading to a slight dip in put-in-place growth during 2004. Although the nonresidential sector did not perform well during 2003, FMI expects it to recover in mid-2004 as well.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and FMI Corporation.
|Highways and Streets||54,851||53,732||58,146|
|Private Office and Professional-New||37,463||37,022||37,305|
|Source: The 2003-2004 U.S. Markets Construction Update, FMI Corporation|
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