Commercial and industrial building on the rise
Auto industry comes roaring back.
Photo credit: Senator2029
While much of America’s future economic dynamism has been riveted on the overdue upgrading of the nation’s infrastructure (pipelines, bridges, dams, railroads and highways), little has been heard lately regarding commercial and industrial construction.
The commercial building infrastructure seems to have been left far behind for decades in the wake of the financial crisis, the focus on intensive energy development and increasing interest in exports. With a population that has almost doubled since the mid-1950s, high-rise apartment buildings, shopping centers, restaurants, office complexes, warehouses, religious and educational institutions — even health-care and elder-care facilities — have been lagging. Much of this was due to the high borrowing interest rates that preceded the 2008-10 Great Recession.
Recently contributing to such lagging commitment has been the intense concern with America’s economic future as Congress and the president can’t come to terms with a balanced approach to economic growth. This is affecting most of the U.S. population, employed by hundreds of thousands of independent retailers, contractors and service providers, not to mention hotels, motels and transportation hubs to manage America’s fast-growing inbound tourism.
Although health care is approaching 20% of the nation’s $16 trillion gross domestic product of goods and services, what’s still unknown is the extent of the physical plant that will be necessary to service the millions who will have access to health care promised by the Obama administration.
With more than half the pre-Great Recession construction workers still unemployed, the anticipated upsurge in commercial construction should find no dearth of willing and able personnel. It’s no exaggeration to claim that the current, realistic low double-digit unemployment rate could be cut in half if economic dynamics, rather than contrived government agency directives, points the way to prosperous expansion. This would benefit our nation of incredible natural wealth and indigenous resources, unmatched in any other part of the globe.
The monetary wherewithal, festering on the balance sheets of many industrial/commercial enterprises as well as banks, presents no problem. In fact, trillions of dollars are being withheld from projects, onsite expansion and acquisitions, which all are awaiting government clarification.
In any case, watch the forthcoming commercial/industrial construction sector take its turn at growth in 2014. As happened unexpectedly with this year’s automotive boom, next year’s surprising construction surge may be just as formidable.
Of all the great technology innovations rightfully attributed to the United States, the automobile perennially has been at the head of the class.
From the original mass-produced Ford sedan to today’s somewhat controversial electric cars, the motor vehicle has become synonymous with American ingenuity and global mechanical leadership. This forward step in civilized history was made especially significant due to the gigantic scope of U.S. acreage and expanding population. This has been true whether referring to military vehicles such as the Jeep or brand names such as Chevrolet, Ford, Buick and Cadillac.
Possibly the most optimistic indicator of America’s automotive future is the renaissance of Chrysler, practically given up for dead even before the worldwide financial recession. With the combination of a successful government bailout and a majority interest by Italy’s Fiat, Chrysler posted exceptional results for 2012 — both in revenues and profitability.
With Fiat’s preliminary decision to buy out the rest of Chrysler, the Chrysler brand name and its future in the United States could be secured when combined with an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. It would be a bonanza for the 41.5% share of Chrysler now owned by the United Auto Workers’ retiree medical benefits trust, which was part of the original government deal to save Chrysler from extinction.
The rebirth of the indispensable sectors of housing and automotive could go a long way toward returning the overall U.S. economy to the health necessary to secure its future well-being. Together with the amazing development of energy opportunities, it will be up to U.S. governmental prudence not to lay further obstacles in the way of a potentially bright American economic future.