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Could the state’s construction market be ‘red-y’ to finally expand?

By Joe Yovino

For the construction industry, yellow is good, but red is better.

Reed Construction Data, a company that compiles information nationwide for the industry, keeps a forward-looking index on its website that looks ahead 12 to 18 months at construction market activity. The map is HERE and looks like this:

If Reed is on its game, the outlook appears upbeat around the state. Wisconsin and Minnesota are peppered with yellow dots (locations with expanding construction markets) on the map, from Duluth, Minn., in the north to Milwaukee in the southeast.

Only Janesville, La Crosse and Racine are flanked by blue dots, or shrinking markets. Conversely, Rochester, Minn., (an hour’s drive down I-90 from the border) and Muskegon, Mich., (take a ferry to work?) are considered “hot spots” by Reed, meaning the markets are expanding dramatically in the next 12 months.

In all, Reed identifies 13 markets in and around Wisconsin that are ripe to expand.

One from the road

The U.S. Department of Transportation has a page on its website called “Voices of the Recovery Act.” It contains the usual rosy rhetoric: “Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the U.S. Department of Transportation has made $48.1 billion available for thousands of highway, road, transit, bridge, and airport projects nationwide.”

But it also contains video of construction workers from around the country talking about what the stimulus has meant to them and how it has kept some workers off the sidelines. It’s an interesting page, but I couldn’t help but thinking, “Man, I hope there’s more than 14 success stories from around the country.”

Joe Yovino is the web editor at The Daily Reporter. He looks at construction-related websites for a living and is fascinated by yellow dots and orange construction cones.

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