Total construction spending hit an unknown level in August because the Census Bureau was unable to release new data as a result of the federal government shutdown, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials cautioned that the impacts of the shutdown will go beyond data as solicitations for many new construction projects come to a halt.
“It is hard to get a sense of where the industry is heading when basic construction spending data isn't available,” said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. “Unfortunately, the lack of federal spending data likely foreshadows a decline in federal construction spending until the government reopens.”
Association officials urged members of Congress to quickly resolve the political impasse that resulted in a federal shutdown starting October 1. They warned that solicitations for new federal construction projects will be delayed until the federal government reopens. In addition, other federal construction projects may be delayed as many federal supervisors will not be available to answer questions or approve change orders.
“Depending on how long the government is closed, construction workers are likely to miss out on new job opportunities,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “This shutdown poses a real risk of undermining the industry's long-awaited recovery.”