NC State Ag Economist Dr. Mike Walden – “Lagging Construction”

 

Mary:  This is Mary Walden with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at lagging construction.  Mike, most industries have changed dramatically in the last 50 years, using modern technologies and sophisticated methods.  That is, all except one – the construction industry.   Look at any building site today and it looks about the same as in previous decades.  What has held the construction industry back?

Mike:  Summary Answer

  1. I have an interest in this since my late father worked in the construction industry all of his life
  2. A recent study looked at productivity gains in various industries since 1947, and while farming improved over 1000% and both manufacturing and trade improved over 500%, construction showed no improvement
  3. Several possible reasons
  4. Construction hasn’t added major new technology – maybe because sites make that difficult or workers are still cheaper
  5. Some say the volatility of the industry discourages firms from making the investments
  6. Also, lack of consolidation – over 700,000 firms nationwide
  7. But change may be coming – automated bulldozers, computer aided design
  8. I’m MW

Mary: And I’m Mary Walden for N C State Extension


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