City Construction Spending Hits $31 B. Record in ’08, But That’s Likely a Peak

New York City construction was up in 2008—and not construction of Hoovervilles and Bushtowns, either.

According to fresh statistics from the New York Building Congress, a record $31.8 billion went into construction citywide last year. Non-residential projects such as offices and sports/entertainment venues accounted for a significant part of the increase: $10.9 billion was spent on such construction, climbing from $8.9 billion in 2007 and just $3.1 billion five years ago (two baseball stadiums will do that).

Residential construction was down to $5.9 billion from 2007’s figure of $6.1 billion, and public sector spending declined (from $15.6 billion in 2007 to $15 billion) for the first time annually since 2003. Even so, residential construction produced more units than last year—33,911 as opposed to 31,902. And construction employment overall accounted for 129,000 jobs in New York, another increase over 2007.

Permits and employment have been declining for several months, though, and some of 2008’s major projects are now complete, such as the Bank of America Tower and stadiums for the Yankees and Mets. Seventeen projects, including portions of the World Trade Center,  have been postponed, according to the Congress.

“Unfortunately,” said Congress president Richard T. Anderson in a statement, “most signs are pointing down for the current year.”

City Construction Spending Hits $31 B. Record in ’08, But That’s Likely a Peak