Construction spending expected to hit nearly $190B between 2019 to 2021: report

The number of jobs is expected to decline

New York Building Congress President & CEO Carlo Scissura (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)
New York Building Congress President & CEO Carlo Scissura (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Total construction spending this year through 2021 in New York City is expected to reach $189.5 billion, according to a new report by the New York Building Congress.

The group’s annual Construction Outlook report estimates that spending will hit $61.5 billion by the end of this year, $65.9 billion in 2020 and $62.1 in 2021. Government-funded infrastructure is expected to make up the biggest chunk in the next three years, with spending projected at $67.9 billion. Non-residential construction follows with $66.2 billion and then residential with $55.4 billion, according to the report.

The Building Congress releases this report each year, based on a combination of its own analysis and data from Dodge Data and Analytics, U.S. Census Bureau, the city’s Department of Buildings and other sources. The forecasted spending totals in these reports are revised from year to year due to changes in project schedules, according to the Building Congress. The dynamic nature of construction timetables also sometimes leads to a discrepancy between the reported actual spending and the estimates for each year, a representative for the group said.

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According to the latest report, $56 billion was spent on construction in 2018, up slightly from 2017’s updated total of $55 billion. (Last year’s report pegged 2017’s spending at $49.3 billion.)

Office projects accounted for a majority of nonresidential construction spending, according to the report. The Building Congress estimates that some 16 million square feet of office space will be built in the next three years. The report also notes that construction was started on more than 78,300 new units of housing between 2016 and 2018, marking one of the most productive three-year periods in the city’s history.

The report also predicts that the number of construction jobs in the city will increase for the eighth consecutive year in 2019, reaching 161,000 by the end of the year. That upward trend, however, is expected to end next year, which could potentially hurt an industry that is already struggling to find enough skilled labor to meet increasing demand. The report indicates that jobs will drop to 157,200 in 2020 and 153,600 in 2021.