Recent news headlines have suggested that the state and national economy will likely recover from "The Great Recession" without the construction sector. This is simply not possible. Total U.S. housing starts in 2006 recorded 1.8 million new construction units. As of July 2011 (just last month), total U.S. housing starts have dropped 34% to 604,000.
Historically, residential investment has averaged approximately 5% of the nation's gross domestic product while housing services have averaged between 12 and 13%, for a combined 17 to 18% contribution to GDP.
As the newly appointed "super committee" tackles the monumental task of cutting $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit over the next 10 years, I hope it takes into consideration the vital contribution that housing, construction and lumber manufacturing provides. With all due respect, a construction-less economic recovery is not only unlikely — in my opinion, is simply not possible.
(More on construction and economic policy from Julie Altemus, with the Montana Wood Products Assn . . . )