Branch: Although the recession is ‘over,’ 
the recovery will present obstacles

By |  August 4, 2020
Headshot: Richard Branch


I think “optimism” is a strong word. I’d use “guarded optimism.”

It’s certainly true that the economic recession is over and that we are in recovery. Also, our leading indicator of construction activity – the Dodge Momentum Index – while lower than a year ago has not cratered like it did during the 2008-2009 recession. This provides hope that, as the recovery proceeds, there are enough construction projects in the pipeline to allow for modest growth in construction.

However, the economic recovery is tenuous. The recent acceleration in COVID-19 cases and the upcoming expiry of expanded unemployment insurance benefits puts that recovery at significant risk. This, in turn, could undermine the construction sector’s ability to grow.

Richard Branch is chief economist at Dodge Data & Analytics.

Editor’s note: As part of our Road to Recovery coverage, P&Q is turning to some of the industry’s leaders for their takes on the road ahead. Leaders such as Branch were posed with the following question: As you look to the remainder of 2020, what factors give you reason for optimism about the aggregate industry?

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