The impact of the coronavirus will likely be felt in every industry, and while the extent of the impact is unknown as the situation evolves quickly around the world, construction was already taking a hit.
Before the public became aware of people testing positive in the United States, a slowdown in the production of supplies in China was already raising costs. U.S. construction companies import about 30 percent of their building products from China. It is the largest importer of construction materials to the U.S. As the Chinese government shut down factories, a manufacturing decline was already creating supply issues and driving up prices for American companies.
Now, the crisis has hit the U.S. and there is further uncertainty in an industry that was already getting mixed messages.
The U.S. Construction Outlook report for 2020 put out by commercial real estate and development firm Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. reported that industry volume and hiring would be flat this year. It also predicted growth for companies that work for the government on projects related to schools, healthcare, and transportation. That report was released last week.
At this point, there is no way to predict the construction man-hours that might be lost to illness or what the brewing economic crisis, caused in part by the global pandemic, might do to future projects. The situation seems to change by the hour and right now industry professionals can only have a plan for the possible effects and wait and see.