Dodge Data economist offers update on construction’s road ahead

By |  March 27, 2020
Headshot: Richard Branch


Richard Branch, chief economist at Dodge Data & Analytics, offered a look at the immediate impacts on construction planning as impacted by the coronavirus.

In a statement on, Branch explains that while the full impact of the coronavirus is not yet known, it’s clear that construction activity will not be business as usual for the near future.

“First-quarter GDP is likely to decline close to 0.1 percent on an annualized basis,” Branch writes. “Beyond that, it gets much more dire. We are anticipating an annualized decline of 6.3 percent for GDP in the second quarter as the effect of a shuttered economy fully takes hold. As a point of comparison, the deepest quarterly GDP decline during the Great Recession was an annualized [minus] 8.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008.”

Dodge Data expects some stabilization in the third quarter, with a softer GDP decline of 1.1 percent. The firm projects 1.5 percent GDP growth in the fourth quarter.

“The full impact of the pandemic remains largely unknown,” Branch writes. “This creates larger forecast error and will result in ongoing adjustments to the forecast as we gain additional information.”

Some areas of the country, including Boston, California and Washington state, have curtailed construction activity, Dodge Data reports. In other areas, the construction business from planning to permitting to project starts has proceeded, but perhaps at a slower pace than two weeks ago, the firm adds.

Dodge Data will host a construction forecast webinar April 9, with Branch presenting new research and analysis of the impact of coronavirus on the construction industry. Current Dodge customers will be able to access the webinar free of charge. Access to the webinar for non-customers and non-subscribers will be fee based, the firm adds.

Read Branch’s recent statement on the impacts of the coronavirus on construction at For a Dodge Data map on public construction opportunities still actively bidding as of March 26, click here.

For additional P&Q coverage related to the coronavirus, visit our dedicated webpage.

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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