Skip to main content

Coronavirus Adds Uncertainty to Otherwise-strong Construction Forecast

While the glass and glazing market is robust and growing, the recent global spread of the coronavirus has added notable uncertainty, said Apogee CEO Joe Puishys during his March 2 keynote at the 2020 BEC Conference in Nashville.  

Puishys noted that Goldman Sachs has lowered U.S. GDP projections for 2020 from 3.4 percent down to 2 percent. “This is a big deal. They are predicting that Q1 will be negative; Q2 will be just slightly positive, and we’ll see good growth in the second half of the year,” he said.   

The manufacturing sector is opening back up in China, where the virus first appeared, Puishys said, “so there is some hope. … The biggest industries impacted will be travel and business. … There will be supply interruptions for sure, and domestic spending will take a hit. But things should be OK.” 

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, a number of market fundamentals point to continued strength for commercial construction. The Architectural Billing Index “has ticked up again,” and “the Dodge Momentum Index has been pretty positive. … I really like this trend,” he said.  

Additionally, construction starts remain strong and job creation has expanded for 112 consecutive months. “Overall, it will be a healthy market as I can see for the next two years. The caveat is that the world we live in overreacts to good and bad news at lightning speeds,” Puishys said.